Language Learning


Language Learning

‘Sing songs to learn Gaelic’, say education experts

23 October 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

A second language can be learned more easily when it is taught through music, was the message given out at the Royal National Mod in Lochaber earlier this month.

Jackie Mullen, a consultant trainer for the Go! Gaelic programme being run by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann, has seen first hand how effective music is as a learning tool. The Go! Gaelic programme includes a comprehensive programme of online resources that are used in primary schools across the country to teach some Gaelic to children who are in English Medium Education.

Visit the website or see the attached press release for more information.

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GTCS Professional Recognition for LFEE Programmes

23 October 2017 (LFEE)

LFEE were delighted – and very proud - to collect a GTCS Professional Recognition Accredited Programme Award last month for our three-week French/Spanish Immersion Programmes and the 12-month Modern Languages Immersion and Methodology Programme. This is following on from having achieved course accreditation three years ago.

Representatives from ten Local Authorities from across Scotland attended the PowerLanguage conference to witness the launch of the NEW PowerLanguage Schools (PLS) website. Feedback from those present was extremely positive and the new site is now available to other practitioners!

Our “off the shelf” L3 in Mandarin was also very popular and will be available in Spanish soon.

Last but not least, we’re very excited to say that Caroline Gordon has joined our team 2 days a week and will be helping us with communication and social media amongst other things!

Contact us for information regarding any of the above projects. We look forward to hearing from you!
photo of LFEE staff with GTCS certificate of recognition

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'I fell in love with these words, and despite my efforts to move on and let go of the past, Gaelic would not let me do it'

22 October 2017 (The Herald)

“Dad, I’m going to tell it to you straight,” I said at the dinner table, aged 17 and ready to jump into the big wide world. My parents put down their cutlery in preparation for whatever was to come. “I’m not going to do Celtic Studies,” I blurted out, and I remember their faces still, choking on their sprouts in their efforts to hide their amusement.

Celtic Studies was my father’s all-consuming passion, and 16 years after his early retirement from Edinburgh University, it still is. We have no family connections to the Highlands and Islands – growing up in a house in Glasgow full of French, English and Italian (and a smattering of Arabic), my father took an interest in the Gaelic he heard about him in the trams and streets and classrooms of the city.

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Koenigspost competition 2017

19 October 2017 (King's College London)

King's College London's Department of German is delighted to announce its 2017 competition for Year 12 and 13 students of German, the equivalent S5 and S6 in Scotland.

Students are invited to write an article of around 400 words in German in response to the question: 'Soziale Netzwerke in der Politik: Welchen politischen Einfluss haben die virtuellen Gemeinschaften?'

The winner and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony and seminar at King's College London in early December 2017.

Entries should be submitted by 22 November 2017. See the flyer below or visit the website for more information.
image of Koenigspost competition flyer

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UK-German Connection opportunities

17 October 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of initiatives and opportunities for partnerships between schools in Germany and the UK. Click on the relevant link below to find out more about their latest initiatives:

  • School Partnership Bursaries - Special **school partnership bursaries of £1,000** are currently available to help keep you UK-German partnership alive and help cover any costs arising from recent changes to safeguarding regulations. All you need to do is answer a few short questions about your partnership activities this year and your plans for next year by **7 November 2017**.
  • Young Europeans Award - Are your pupils interested in European issues? Encourage them to enter the competition and win a trip to Warsaw! With the UK (and UK-German Connection) as a partner for 2017-18, pupils are invited to team up with young people from Germany, Poland and France and enter with a project on the theme 'To be or not to be... a European.’

To find out more about other activities the organisation provides, you can also visit the UK-German Connection website.

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Could instant translation technology revolutionise world HE?

17 October 2017 (THE)

Language is often cited as one of the main obstacles to universities’ internationalisation efforts, blamed for everything from the low number of UK students studying abroad to Japan’s lagging behind on numbers of foreign academics and internationally co-authored publications.

So could new technology allow students and academics to transcend language barriers – and therefore transform international higher education?

Earlier this month Google launched Pixel Buds – a new set of wireless earbud headphones that deliver real-time translation between 40 different languages using Google Translate on a Pixel smartphone.

Bragi’s Dash Pro earbuds deliver the same feature using the iTranslate app on an iPhone.

Colin Mitchell, learning technologist at Leeds Beckett University, said that the technology has the potential to benefit scholars and students.

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Teachers become learners with new languages project

17 October 2017 (Open University/SCILT)

Primary school teachers are being given the confidence to teach languages to their pupils through a new project run by The Open University (OU) in Scotland and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages.

Fifty one teachers from schools across nine local authorities are participating in ‘Learning to teach Languages in Primary School’ which will see them learn French or Spanish as well as how to teach the language in class.

The project aims to support the Scottish Government’s “1+2” Language Policy, which has the objective that every pupil will learn two modern foreign languages alongside their mother tongue from primary school onwards.

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Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12

16 October 2017 (ECML)

With over 40 official languages in the member states of the Council of Europe and more than 70 regional and minority languages officially recognized in addition to a number of languages spoken by migrants, it is important that Europe’s language diversity is recognized and acknowledged.

The reality for many European citizens is that in the course of their lives they will need to develop proficiency, not only in their native language, but in a variety of languages. Demands of study, work, travel, relocation and personal development will also mean that skills in new languages will need to be added to their existing repertoire. Therefore, learning the skills required to learn languages is of paramount importance. Furthermore, language learning and identity construction are closely interlinked.

Recognizing the importance of languages in the lives of Europeans and the benefits that early language learning provides, the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) has launched a two-year project "Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12".

The project is focused on early language learning, from 3 to 12 years of age. The innate curiosity and enthusiasm that children bring to learning during this initial period in their formal education makes it the ideal time to introduce, nurture and motivate learners in the area of additional language learning. Strong foundations, built at this stage in children’s development, will facilitate language learning throughout life and openness to, as well as respect for different cultures, values and traditions.

Find out more on the ECML website.

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Call for Gaelic language czar for Scotland

16 October 2017 (The Herald)

A Gaelic tsar would ensure Scotland’s mother tongue flourishes in the classroom in the wake of a controversial failed bid to create a new Gaelic primary school, an academic has claimed.

Professor Rob Dunbar, chair of Celtic languages at Edinburgh University, said the current mechanism to force councils and other bodies to promote the language was too weak.

It comes after a bid by parents for Gaelic primary school education was rejected by East Renfrewshire Council despite new laws designed to encourage the spread of the language.

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Tianjin scholarship

13 October 2017 (CISS)

The application process for the Tianjin scholarship 2018-2019 is now open. Further information about the scholarship which offers young people the opportunity to study Mandarin in Tianjin can be found on our website. The closing date for applications is Monday 6 November 2017.

Please note that we can only accept applications from current 6th years in an authority with a Confucius Classroom hub.

If you have any questions or would like any further information, please contact ciss-info@strath.ac.uk.

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NEW: Training in French in your Primary School

12 October 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française Glasgow is now offering special training designed for Primary School teachers to help them (re-)validate their professional development and accreditation.

Our team can travel to your school for a twilight to teach a 10-hour programme (2hrs per week over 5 weeks) suited for beginners/false beginners.

As well as working on your pronunciation and vocabulary skills, this course will provide you with "ready to teach" ideas and materials which can also be transferred to other languages in the 1+2 context.

Visit the Alliance Française website for further details.

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Global Britain needs more linguists if we are to succeed after Brexit

12 October 2017 (The Telegraph)

Ours is a trading nation, connected to countries in every continent by shared history, shared values and, on occasion, shared language.

We are a country that thrives in making its way in the world. Once we leave the European Union we will, once again, be free to forge mutually beneficial relationships with peoples all over the globe.

Drawing on the genius of the great economists of our Union’s history, this Kingdom will once again be at the forefront of global free trade. Once again, it will fall to Britain and her close allies to make the Smith, Mill and Ricardo’s moral and economic case for markets, free trade and comparative advantage.

Key to our success in this endeavour is the preparedness of the next generation to compete and sell their wares in a global economy. In an ever more technical world, it is important that pupils leave school with the knowledge that will best prepare them for the demands of life in 21st century Britain.

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Juvenes Translatores

10 October 2017 (European Commission)

Juvenes Translatores is the annual translation contest for 17-year old students (those born in 2000). The 2017 contest will take place on 23 November.

To participate, schools must register first — between 1 September and 20 October 2017.

The materials for the Juvenes Translatores are available to download on the day of the competition so that schools can make use of them even if they are not selected to take part.  Perhaps you may wish to use them to organise a competition in your own school?” 

See the website for full details.

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Euroquiz 2018

9 October 2017 (SEET)

Euroquiz, the annual project for P6 pupils in Scotland, is once again open for those wishing to participate in 2018.

The project, which sees team of four working together to broaden their knowledge of Europe and the wider world, includes coverage of foreign languages, history, geography, sport, culture and European affairs.

Heats take place in every local authority from January to March 2018, with the winning teams from all areas going forward to the National Euroquiz Final held in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament in May 2018.

Visit the Scottish European Education Trust (SEET) website for more information about Euroquiz and how to register your school to take part.

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DAAD/IMLR Competition

9 October 2017 (DAAD)

Jointly organised by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the IMLR, this year sees the fourth writing competition for all learners and lovers of German. The competition is open to secondary schools, undergraduates, postgraduates and anyone else who feels up to the challenge!

This year, the task ties in with the 500th anniversary of Luther’s publication of his 95 theses that sparked the Reformation. Put yourself in the shoes of a time-travelling spy: you overhear a conversation between Luther or one of his German, Austrian or Swiss contemporaries (real or imagined) and a figure from public life in 2017 Britain. Is the German-speaking 16th-century time traveller debating Brexit with Boris Johnson or comparing sporting skills with Andy Murray? Does Jamie Oliver try to revolutionise cooking skills of Reformation Germany? Write down what you hear! The only two rules: the dialogue must be written in German and it must not be longer than 350 words.

Visit the DAAD website for more information and to submit entries by 23 October 2017.

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Strathclyde University says ‘arrivederci’ to joint honours degrees in Italian

9 October 2017 (The Herald)

A university has downgraded the teaching of Italian sparking wider fears for the study of the country’s language and culture in Scotland.

Strathclyde University, in Glasgow, will no longer offer students the opportunity to study joint honours degrees in Italian.

Instead, the language will be taught at a more basic level in only the first and second years of a four year degree course.

The move brings to an end a long tradition at Strathclyde where students could combine subjects as diverse as architecture, engineering, law and politics with Italian to degree level.

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GCSE modern languages scheme 'doubles uptake' in some areas

7 October 2017 (BBC)

A scheme to encourage more pupils in Wales to take modern languages at GCSE has reported "significant" success.

More than a third of Welsh schools now have less than 10% of Year 10 pupils studying a foreign language.

But the Welsh Government-funded modern foreign languages (MFL) mentoring project said it had seen uptake double in some schools.

The scheme trains students from Welsh universities to talk to pupils about the benefits of studying languages.

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Inside the UK’s first bilingual English and Chinese primary school

7 October 2017 (Financial Times)

As a girl growing up in an English-speaking household in Singapore, Prema Gurunathan grudgingly studied Mandarin. Now a mother in west London, she is taking no chances with her own son.

When he turned one Ms Gurunathan insisted their household in Hammersmith speak Mandarin for half of each week. She recruited an au pair from east Asia (she prefers not to say exactly where, for fear of tipping off the competition). And last month, she and her husband enrolled the three-and-a-half year-old at Kensington Wade in London, Britain’s first primary school to offer full Mandarin immersion for its pupils.

“It’s intellectual, it’s cultural and it’s ‘future-proofing’, if you will,” said Ms Gurunathan, a self-confessed “tiger mom” and policy wonk, explaining her school choice. “And it’s fun.”

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Gaelic school rejected after council shuns parents' bid

7 October 2017 (The Herald)

A bid by parents for Gaelic primary school education has been rejected despite new laws which were supposed to encourage the spread of the language.

A group of 49 families from East Renfrewshire contacted the council asking them to explore the possibility of a Gaelic primary unit or school in the area.

However, East Renfrewshire Council sent letters to all those involved warning families children would no longer be able to attend their local catchment area school if a Gaelic facility was set up.

“Instead, your child would attend another establishment in a location yet to be decided,” the letter said.

The council also highlighted the importance of parents learning Gaelic stating: “It is considered that it is crucial prospective parents ... who are not already Gaelic speakers are committed to learning Gaelic.”

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2017-18 Tianjin Scholars Blogs now live

6 October 2017 (CISS)

The first blog entries from a number of Tianjin Scholars are now available to read on the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools website.

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Google's new headphones translate foreign languages in real time

5 October 2017 (The Independent)

Google has built a pair of headphones that can translate foreign languages in real time.

The Pixel Buds are like a real-world equivalent of the Babel fish, the famous fictional creature from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

They both translate and enable you to speak in foreign languages, and worked incredibly impressively in a demo at Google’s launch event this week, enabling an English speaker to hold a smooth conversation with a Swedish speaker.

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The 13th Japanese Speech Contest for University Students

2 October 2017 (Japan Foundation)

We are delighted to announce that the 13th Japanese Speech Contest for University Students is open for applications!

This contest gives students the chance to make their voices heard in Japanese, and win some fantastic prizes! Finalists will all perform their speeches on Saturday 24 February 2018 at King’s College London.

The contest is aimed at undergraduate students who are currently studying Japanese as a foreign language at a university in the UK or Ireland.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to apply by 9 November 2017.

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One Hundred Years of Russian: but what next?

1 October 2017 (Cable Magazine)

As the study of Russian in Scotland passes a notable milestone, Jenny Carr of the Scottish-Russia Forum casts an eye across the educational landscape and asks whether we should be doing more to enhance our knowledge of the Russian language and culture. The University of Glasgow celebrates the centenary of Russian studies at the university this year. Celebrations began in September with a conference and other events at the university, and will continue throughout the semester.

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Gaelic World War II project resource

27 September 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

An interdisciplinary resource which aims to provide Gaelic Medium Education teachers with a ‘one stop shop’ of topic-specific material for the classroom was launched at the national An t-Alltan conference for GME practitioners held in Aviemore last week.

An Dàrna Cogadh was developed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig in response to Gaelic Medium Education practitioners’ requests for a comprehensive teaching package, based online, on the subject of World War Two.

The online resource brings together many informative Gaelic texts and books— some created especially for this project — with a rich variety of other material from the wider world, including web, print and video. It is designed to support teachers delivering this subject in the primary sector.

Visit the website to access the resource and for more information see the attached press release.

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Foreign language learning in the EU

26 September 2017 (Eurostat)

Eurostat publishes below two infographics on foreign language learning in the European Union:

  • How many pupils learn two or more foreign languages?
  • Which are the most studied foreign languages?

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Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition 2017-18

22 September 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

Today sees the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and we're delighted to announce the addition of a category for students in further and higher education, enabling all Scottish educational establishments to participate.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, college or university, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category. Even if you've taken part in the competition before, please note and read the new rules and criteria as only original work will be considered.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! Closing date for registrations is 27 October 2017.

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Scots language writing competition

20 September 2017 (Education Scotland)

2017 is the year of History, Heritage & Archaeology . To celebrate, Education Scotland are launching a Creative Writing competition at the Scottish Learning Festival on 20 September. Learners of any and all ages are invited to enter to win Scots Language books for their school. Learners should write a poem or short story of not more than 750 words in length. The story or poem must be written in Scots language – though can be in any dialect of Scots, as broad or unique as the writer would like.

Log onto Glow and join the Scots blether to be kept up to date on all information on the competition. Go to the Visit Scotland website for more info on the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

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Glasgow named one of the top cities in the world to learn about Chinese language and culture

20 September 2017 (Glasgow Live)

Glasgow is officially home to a world leader in the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools (CISS) has been appointed a Model Confucius Institute by the global headquarters, Hanban.

The centre, based at the University of Strathclyde, is one of only 40 facilities out of 500 across the globe to be given the status.

Bosses have also announced the institute, which is open to people from all over the country, is set for a move to a new HQ at the university's Ramshorn Theatre.

The Grade A-Listed building is being given a £2 million refurbishment - which includes a substantial investment by Hanban - to develop it as a publicly-accessible hub for learning and cultural exchange.

The new premises will have the capacity to host performances, conferences and exhibitions.

A plaque marking the new status of the institute was unveiled at a conference attended by Scottish Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Liu Xiaoming, China’s Ambassador to the UK, was also a keynote speaker at the event, held to mark the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Institute.

Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “As a leading international university, we are extremely proud of our academic links around the globe and our diverse student and staff community.

“This prestigious accolade for our Confucius Institute reflects the important role it plays in improving understanding of Chinese language and culture across Scotland, and we congratulate everyone involved on their fantastic achievement.

“I’m particularly pleased that the Institute’s move to its new headquarters on campus will enable even more schools, businesses and community groups to benefit from increased educational and economic opportunities, with a further 10 Confucius Classroom Hubs being announced today.”

Read more...

Related Links

China bolsters Confucius Institute culture scheme in Scotland (The Times, 20 September 2017)

Confucius Hub opens at Braehead Primary (Stirling Council, 21 September 2017)

Council to spend £160,000 teaching staff to speak Gaelic

20 September 2017 (The Herald)

A council plans to spend £160,000 teaching its staff to speak Gaelic.

Perth and Kinross aims to reverse the decline which has left just 1,287 locals speaking the language.

The local authority has revealed proposals for a £160,000 Gaelic Language Plan to be rolled out over the next five years.

Read more...

HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese speaking competition 2017/18

19 September 2017 (British Council)

A great, fun opportunity for students to practice and improve their Mandarin Chinese language skills. The competition also offers the chance to win a week in Beijing.

Find out more about the competition and how to apply. Entry deadline is Friday 6 October 2017.

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Alliance Française newsletter - September 2017

19 September 2017 (Alliance Française)

The autumn term has just begun at the Alliance Française in Glasgow. In their latest newsletter, find out more about the upcoming courses and events taking place, including:

  • Beginner course for primary school teachers
  • Grammar course and oral skills course for university students
  • October break workshop for children
  • DELF/DALF exams
  • Distance learning with 'Frantastique' - access a free trial
For all this, and more, see the newsletter online.

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Magical Christmas Trips deadline reminder: 26 September

19 September 2017 (UK-German Connection)

There's still time to apply to take part in a Magical Christmas Trip to Germany this year!

These visits offer primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

There are two options for getting involved: either by applying to take part in a visit to Berlin run by UK-German Connection or by applying for funding to run your own Christmas visit to a partner school anywhere in Germany.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and to apply by 26 September 2017.

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Language Perfect Northern Championships 2017

18 September 2017 (Language Perfect)

The 2017 Language Perfect Northern Championships dates have been announced!

Join schools from the northern hemisphere 7-14 November for a week of online competition, and celebration of language learning!

Visit the website to find out about how the competition works and register to take part.

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eTwinning

15 September 2017 (eTwinning)

eTwinning offers a platform for teachers to communicate, collaborate, share and develop projects with like-minded colleagues across Europe.

Visit the website to find out more about eTwinning and how being part of the community can benefit you and your pupils.

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The e-Sgoil is ‘a reason to come back to teaching’

15 September 2017 (TESS)

A project that allows lessons to be beamed into Scottish classrooms has been described as “one of the best things” happening in Scottish education by a former education director who has conducted an independent review of the scheme.

The e-Sgoil – or e-school – based in the Western Isles became a reality at the beginning of 2016-17 to help tackle the teacher shortage, particularly in Gaelic, and to give secondary pupils in remote and rural schools a wider range of subjects.

Access the full article in TESS online, 15 September 2017 (subscription may be required).

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Host a Teacher from Germany

15 September 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to have authentic German cultural input in your school? Through the Host a Teacher from Germany programme, your school can host a German teacher for two or three weeks during the academic year, at no cost.

All schools and FE colleges from the whole of the UK can take part. The UK coordinating teacher does not need to be a teacher of German, and German does not need to be on the school’s curriculum; visiting teachers are either teachers of English or have good knowledge of the English language.

There's still time to apply. Closing deadline is 21 September 2017.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Languagenut and SCILT exclusive

15 September 2017 (Languagenut)

Languagenut is a professional teaching tool that offers teaching resources across 21 modern foreign languages. 

It is the perfect tool to support the 1+2 approach to language learning, as all audio files are recorded by native speakers. With a range of games, songs and stories, Languagenut supports the four key skills of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing. 

In addition, Languagenut offers special integrated tools which allow teachers both create their own classes and content, and also set and track homework, generate certificates and evaluate students’ progress in real time. These timesaving tools help teachers to deliver more personalised teaching and customise lessons to fit each individual.

Accessible at school and at home, Languagenut helps to bridge the gap between classroom and home learning.

We’ve collaborated with SCILT to give Scottish schools free exclusive access to Languagenut for 45 days! Visit the website to register.

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Our World film making project

14 September 2017 (SEET)

Want to get pupils more engaged in language learning and encourage uptake? Are you keen to improve their confidence and win an award or two? Then get involved!

SEET's Our World is a free film making project, run by the Scottish European Educational Trust, which is designed to encourage language learning and uptake among pupils. The project is open to any team of four from S3 - S6 (no previous film making knowledge is required) and last year resulted in over 88% of participant pupils saying they were more likely to take languages into their next year as a result of taking part.

All teams have to do to enter is come up with a creative idea for a film, based on this year's theme. Then, with our help teams put that idea into storyboard form and send it to us with an audio or video clip explaining it. The deadline for storyboard submissions is 4 December 2017.

Visit the website to find out more about the project and how to enter.

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Professional development in Germany

13 September 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

Every year the Goethe-Institut offers an attractive range of residential training and language courses for teachers of German: for primary and secondary teachers, for teachers in further education and teacher trainers:

  • Language Courses
  • Landeskunde
  • Methodology/Teaching Strategies

Deadline for applications: 15 October 2017. 

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information. Teachers from Scotland, please apply to Goethe-Institut Glasgow.

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Chinese language classes

12 September 2017 (Confucius Institute Edinburgh)

The Confucius Institute for Scotland's programme of Chinese classes for the autumn term will start 25 September 2017.

Classes on offer range from beginner to advanced levels. This autumn, in addition to our usual evening classes, we will also offer a short daytime course running 2.5 hrs per week for five weeks - Chinese for Travellers. Ideal if planning a visit to China or just as a taster course.  

Visit the website for course details and registration, or to find out about other events and opportunities offered by the Confucius Institute for Scotland.

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SRF Russian classes

11 September 2017 (SRF)

The Scotland-Russia Forum (SRF) will resume Russian language classes in Edinburgh on 18 September. 

Visit the website for more details and to enrol. For those unable to travel to Edinburgh, tuition via Skype can also be arranged.

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New term German courses in Glasgow

11 September 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow offers German language courses and exams for all levels. Courses for the autumn semester commence on 26 September 2017.

See their online brochure for full details and how to enrol.

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Beginners 1 French Course for Primary School Teachers

7 September 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française Glasgow is running a new 10-week Beginners 1 French course for Primary School teachers between October and December 2017.

This course is suitable for complete beginners.

  • 20 hours of lessons over 10 weeks tailored to the needs of Primary School teachers: classroom and speaking activities, pronunciation, communication, increase your confidence and feel more comfortable speaking French.
  • The course will take take place on Thursdays 3.45 - 5.45 pm between 5 October and 14 December 2017.

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information and to enrol.

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French and Spanish courses for nursery and primary teachers

7 September 2017 (SALT)

Offered by Smalltalk Languages, this course is aimed at nursery/primary staff who are currently introducing French/Spanish as part of their curriculum for excellence/1+2 languages programme or intend to do so. Suitable for both complete beginners and people with prior knowledge of the language, the main focus of the course will be on language learning and practical methodology.

On the day participants will look at language from the children’s perspective. They will be shown how to build both their own and the children’s confidence in language skills while learning the importance of adapting and manipulating language for maximum effect.

Visit the SALT website for available dates and locations.

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Education Scotland Gaelic news

6 September 2017 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's Gaelic e-bulletin is now available.

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News from UK-German Connection

6 September 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of funded opportunities for schools in the UK to link with schools in Germany as well as providing resources and activities for the classroom and professional learning for teachers.

In their latest newsletter you can find out more about current opportunities, including:

  • Deadline reminder: seas and oceans youth seminar
  • Host a Teacher in 2018
  • Voyage kids: back to school special
  • Magical Christmas Trips
  • Partnerships Bursaries
  • Young Europeans Award
  • Looking ahead

Find out more on their website.

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German Debating Competition 2017

5 September 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

This year the Goethe Institute Glasgow is proud to launch a German Debating Competition for Higher and Advanced Higher secondary school students in Scotland.

Debating in German is an innovative method for language teaching and learning and is of major benefit to all students: participants can improve their language and communication skills and develop a higher motivation for further language learning.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to register by 30 September.

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10 of the best language with activity holidays around the world

5 September 2017 (The Guardian)

Spanish and tango? German and skiing? Or even Japanese and manga? Learn a language in the native country and add some extracurricular fun with these holiday courses that offer a skill or some culture, too.

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How to improve children’s language awareness at primary school

4 September 2017 (The Conversation)

Young children have a lot to fit into each school day. So making the best use of the little time allocated to learning a foreign language is paramount. In England, state primary schools have been required to offer children aged seven to 11 a foreign language since 2014. This seems to chime with the common assumption, supported by research, that the earlier we start learning a foreign language, the better we will eventually be able to speak it.

Yet the situation is quite different when learners have just a few hours’ exposure each week. In these circumstances – unlike full immersion in a second language – younger is not necessarily better. Large-scale classroom-based research in Spain has shown that after the same number of lessons, students who began learning after age 18 achieved greater success in English than students who started at age eight, 11 or 14.

A likely reason for the different effects of starting age in different learning environments is the type of learning mechanism in operation. Primarily, young children learn implicitly – without effort or awareness. By contrast, adolescents and adults can learn explicitly, with the intention to learn and with conscious effort. Implicit learning only works well if there is ample exposure to language input, while explicit learning can work even with little language input. So having just a few hours a week of language lessons at a young age doesn’t meant a child will learn that language successfully.

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Bilingual story book readings

1 September 2017 (The Language Hub)

The Language Hub in Glasgow provides regular bilingual story book sessions at Hillhead Library. The sessions are free to attend and, whilst aimed at pre-school children, everyone is welcome.

The next event takes place on 5 September with a Spanish/English reading of 'The Gruffalo'.

Further readings of different stories in a range of languages will take place during the Autumn. For details of all the available sessions from September to November visit the Language Hub's website.

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European Language Gazette Issue 37

31 August 2017 (ECML)

The May-July 2017 edition of the European Centre for Modern Language's newsletter is now available online.

The European Language Gazette highlights the latest developments, programmes and initiatives in language education in Europe.

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Scots Language in Curriculum for Excellence

30 August 2017 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published a report on the impact on literacy of learning Scots. The report ‘Scots Language in Curriculum for Excellence: enhancing skills in literacy, developing successful learners and confident individuals’ is available on the National Improvement Hub.

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Russian ambassador confronts Sturgeon over Scottish curriculum

30 August 2017 (The Courier)

Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the UK, expressed his disappointment to Nicola Sturgeon over the Scottish Qualifications Authority dropping the language from the curriculum.

In a letter, which has been published under freedom of information laws, Mr Yakovenko called on Ms Sturgeon to intervene.

The correspondence also revealed the FM has declined invitations to official Russian functions in Edinburgh and London on four occasions since June 2016.

Mr Yakovenko, who was previously deputy minister of foreign affairs, said: “The cancellation of the exams seriously affected the resources available for cultural and business links, for people-to-people contacts and the personal development of individuals.”

He added: “I believe there may be ways for the Scottish Government to have the above decisions revisited, and I would hugely appreciate your attention to the matter.”

However, he did highlight Dundee Russian School for its valuable work in teaching children and adults the language, which is the fifth most prevalent in the world.

The First Minster left it to her deputy John Swinney to reply, which he did about two months after the original letter was sent in December 2016.

Mr Swinney, who is also Education Secretary, said: “The decision to remove courses was made entirely on practical grounds, reflecting difficulties in maintaining standards in subjects experiencing consistently low uptake.”

He added: “I would assure you that SQA’s decision bore no reflection on the relative merit or value of Russian language or literature – which are considerable.”

Mr Swinney said Scots could learn the language through modern languages for work purposes units and the Language for Life and Work Award.

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Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2017: Open Word - Open World

28 August 2017 (Michael Kerins)

This exciting new project will run from 20 to 31 October 2017. The idea is to create new writing using vocabulary that differs by the addition of only one letter - one single letter and the meaning changes. Not only in English - but in a wide variety of languages.  

To find out more about the project and how you can participate, visit the website or contact michael.kerins@gmail.com.

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British Council Modern Language Assistants have arrived!

28 August 2017 (British Council)

We were very pleased to welcome our new cohort of Modern Language Assistants (MLAs) to Scotland last week with an induction meeting in Edinburgh.

This year, we have almost 80 assistants from 10 different countries in 8 Local Educational Authorities.

Huge thanks to our colleagues at SCILT who supported the event, as well as Louise Glen from Education Scotland and representatives from the Institut Français and the Spanish Consejería.

If you are interested in hosting a language assistant, or would simply like more information, please email languageassistants.uk@britishcouncil.org or visit the British Council website.

photo of MLAs

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Ignore the panic. There’s little point learning languages at school

25 August 2017 (The Guardian)

Education policy is like defence policy. It is always fighting the last war but one. Predictable woe has greeted the plummeting number of pupils studying modern languages, which have fallen by roughly 10% in a year and German by one-third since 2010. Only Chinese and Arabic look reasonably healthy – I wonder if this might be because rising numbers of Chinese and Arabic-speakers are studying?

Read more...

Related Links

Why learn German? (The Times Literary Supplement, 27 August 2017)

Just speaking English won’t get us very far in the world  (The Guardian, 28 August 2017)

The Importance Of Young People Studying Languages  (Huffington Post, 29 August 2017)

Learn languages at school – and expand your horizons (The Guardian, 3 September 2017)

Why asking struggling pupils to take a language GCSE early is a winner

25 August 2017 (TES)

How do you encourage lower-ability students to stick with learning a new language? By offering them the chance to take the subject at GCSE … a whole two years early. The results speak for themselves, says Eva Vicente.

Learning languages didn’t come easy to Jack when he first joined secondary school. Ordinarily, he would have dropped the subject when he was choosing which GCSEs to study at key stage 4. So imagine his delight that he’d already notched up a Spanish GCSE by the end of Year 9, two years before his more proficient friends would have the opportunity to do the same.

His impressive achievement was made possible by the unconventional system we have implemented at Rushcliffe School, which allows struggling pupils the chance to study for their Spanish GCSE in Years 8 and 9. Asking teenagers to sit what is supposed to be one of the hardest GCSE subjects two years early may seem a little crazy – even more so when you consider the pupils in question are the ones who are struggling the most with the subject – but there is method in our madness.

Britain is at the back of the queue in terms of language skills. Why? Because children here don’t study languages as early, as often or for as long as those in other countries. Despite endless changes in policy, the UK simply does not invest in language learning.

But at Rushcliffe we don’t buy into the idea that learning a language is only for a handful of very academic students who are able to leap over the education system’s barriers – delayed exposure to learning languages and limited timetable allocation. We decided to turn things around and commit to ensuring that as many students as possible get a language qualification, without it impacting on their GCSE choices at key stage 4. So how does it work?

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Bring the world into your school

24 August 2017 (British Council)

We offer many ways to help enhance learning and teaching in schools in Scotland. Raising attainment, building literacy and numeracy, and helping bridge the attainment gap are high on the schools agenda. An international dimension can be motivational for staff and learners, and has been shown to make a real difference in these priority areas.

Our professional development opportunities, curriculum resources and international linking programmes offer a range of exciting and innovative approaches to learning and raising attainment.

Our Bring the World into your School booklet details each of our programmes and shows how they have been developed to strengthen the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. We also outline how international education can be used across Scotland to improve whole school performance.

Visit the website for more information about the Bring the World into your School initiative, the Learning for Sustainability programme, eTwinning, Erasmus+ funded projects and Language Assistants programme and how these can support and benefit Scottish schools.

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EBacc failing to reverse decline in language learning, cautions British Academy

24 August 2017 (British Academy)

The British Academy has warned that the English Baccalaureate is failing to halt the decline in young people studying languages at GCSE.

The number of students taking GCSEs, A-levels and university degrees in languages has been falling steadily for many years, due in part to the government’s unfortunate decision in 2004 to make languages optional at Key Stage 4.

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) recognises pupils who pass five core academic subjects at GCSE, including a modern or ancient language. It was hoped that the EBacc would reverse the decline in language-learning, but this year’s data suggests that the initial positive effect appears to be wearing off.

The fall in students choosing languages at GCSE in 2017 is particularly evident in European languages: entries for German are down by 12%, French by 10% and Spanish by 3%, compared to last year.

The British Academy is deeply concerned that this year’s decline will further erode the numbers of young people studying languages to a higher level, with knock-on effects for the UK as a whole.

Read more...

Related Links

Learning a foreign language is about more than getting by abroad (British Academy blog, 23 August 2017)

Ambassador Ammon’s piece for The Telegraph on the importance of learning foreign languages

23 August 2017 (German Embassy London)

Since my return to London as German Ambassador, the GCSE and A-level results published in August have always been a moment of disappointment for me, as the number of students taking German has kept falling. The relentless decline of modern language teaching and learning across the UK remains both a saddening and troubling trend.

When the author David Cornwell, better known as John le Carré, spoke at the annual German Teacher Awards ceremony at my Residence in June, he said these powerful words:

“The decision to learn a foreign language is to me an act of friendship. It is indeed a holding out of the hand. It’s not just a route to negotiation. It’s also to get to know you better, to draw closer to you and your culture, your social manners and your way of thinking.”

While I recognise the importance and global role of English, I firmly believe that language skills are more vital than ever in the 21st century.

The UK rightly intends to play an even greater role in a globalised world after Brexit. This, I believe, will not be possible unless young Britons are encouraged to be outward-looking from an early age. Learning a foreign language will be key, and German, which is mother tongue to more people in Europe than any other language, would be an ideal choice.

Read more...

Related Links

Britain must reverse the decline in foreign language learning if it's to thrive outside the EU (The Telegraph, 17 August 2017) - the original published article.

Minato Japanese course for teachers

22 August 2017 (Japan Foundation)

A unique opportunity for teachers to start learning Japanese as a complete beginner.

The Marugoto A1-1 (Katsudoo - Activity & Rikai - Grammar) Tutor Support Course gives a comprehensive introduction to Japanese language and culture. This course will combine online self-study with submission of assignments to a real-life tutor, in addition to live lessons with the tutor.

Enrolment deadline: 31 August 2017
Course period: 14 September – 15 December 2017
Course fee: £40 (50% launch discount; usual cost £80)

Each participant needs to have their own individual account and computer (or other suitable internet-enabled device), headphones and webcam to have the opportunity to speak and practice Japanese.

Please note a maximum of 40 people can be accepted on the course. Your suitability for this course will be assessed by the Japan Foundation after your application has been received.

Visit the course website for full details and to register.

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What not to do: Tips from a returning Tianjin scholar

21 August 2017 (CISS)

Having returned from her year on the scholarship programme, Maeve MacLeod shares her experiences and advice on making the most of China.

Read more...

Vocab Express League of Champions 2017

21 August 2017 (Vocab Express)

The next League of Champions competition from Vocab Express will be taking place from 28 September to 4 October 2017.

It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 150 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students. Free spaces are still currently available!

Visit the website for more information and to register your school.

Teachers can also sign up for guest access to a free trial of the Vocab Express platform using their school or academic e-mail address.

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Hundreds of languages are spoken in the UK, but this isn’t always reflected in the classroom

21 August 2017 (The Conversation)

More than 300 different languages are now spoken in British schools. And in England, over 20% of primary school children use English as an additional language.

This equates to over 900,000 children for whom English is not their first language. These children might have been born in another country, their parents might speak another language to them at home, or they might just know a few words of another language because their grandparents immigrated to England a long time ago. But just like any other pupil, they attend schools across the country, speak (or learn to speak) in English and participate in the national curriculum. Yet the fact these children also bring with them a rich understanding of another language and culture can often go unnoticed.

Bilingualism is something we usually celebrate in adults yet not always in the classroom, where English is usually prioritised. This is despite the fact that many communities in Britain, speak more than one language.

In the 2011 British Census, for example, 4.2m people reported having a main language other than English. And just over half of all Europeans claim to speak at least one other language in addition to their mother tongue.

Research shows that some children never have the opportunity to use their home language at school. And in some cases, their teachers might not even know they speak another language.

In the absence of school or community support, these children can sometimes end up losing their home languages. This is something that may be particularly true in highly monolingual areas which experience less immigration.

The problem then is that these areas – where English is the only language spoken – become even more monolingual. All while other areas of the country grow and celebrate their linguistic diversity.

Read more...

'Profoundly democratic': learning Norwegian as a foreign language

18 August 2017 (British Council)

Norway has deep cultural connections with its neighbours across the North Sea. In fact, Norway is Scotland’s closest continental neighbour, only about 200 miles away from Shetland.

Still, as with many lesser-taught languages, people who learn Norwegian always seem to get asked why they made that choice. The most common reasons are having some relationship with Norway, Norwegians and Norwegian culture, but there are plenty of others.

Read more...

Concours de la francophonie 2018

18 August 2017 (Institut français)

The Institut français d'Ecosse is pleased to launch this year's concours de la francophonie, a national school competition to encourage all young French learners and their teachers around Scotland to celebrate the international day of la francophonie.

All Scottish primary and secondary schools offering French may enter this competition by submitting a short video of a classroom activity in French.

Visit the Institut français website to find out more about the competition and how to enter by 19 December 2017.

Read more...

A-level results 2017: Decline in entries for arts and languages 'makes mockery of social mobility claims'

17 August 2017 (TES)

Heads' union warns of the consequences of a drop in entries for creative subjects and languages, as the number of students sitting music plummets by 9.4 per cent.

A decline in A-level entries for music, drama, French and German is "making a mockery of the government's claim to be promoting social mobility", a heads' union has said.

The Association of School and College Leaders said that schools are having to cut courses in these subjects because the relatively small number of candidates signing up to them means they are no longer financially viable.

The number of A-level entries in England dropped by 1.2 per cent in French compared with last year, 4.2 per cent in German, 4 per cent in drama and by 9.4 per cent in music, according to figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications.

The ASCL said schools cutting back on these subjects was a reflection of "severe budget pressures" on post-16 education, which has experienced a real-terms cut since 2010.

Given the 42 per cent drop in AS-level entries after they were "decoupled" from A levels, ASCL said it was concerned about a narrowing of the curriculum, which was "reducing student choice".

Read more...

A-level results show first rise in top grades in six years

17 August 2017 (The Guardian)

The proportion of top marks awarded at A-level has risen overall for the first time in six years and boys did better than girls at gaining A and A* grades.

The published national results of 2017’s exams show that in the bulk of subjects the proportion of A and A* grades awarded went up to 26.3%, a rise of half a percentage point compared with 2016.

[..] As expected, there were sizeable increases in the top grades awarded to students taking modern foreign languages, with A and A*s rising by 2.5% in Spanish and 1.8% in German and 1.7% in French – after years of complaints that the exams were graded too harshly.

The improved performance came after the exam regulator in England, Ofqual, adjusted the proportion of top grades awarded to candidates, following research showing that native speakers taking the subjects had skewed the results.

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New hub for e-Sgoil virtual Gaelic school opened in North Uist

17 August 2017 (Holyrood)

A new satellite hub for the online distance learning Gaelic school e-Sgoil has been opened in the former Carinish School building in North Uist by Education Secretary John Swinney.

The virtual Gaelic school was launched just over a year ago by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Gaelic language board, to provide connectivity between schools in the Western Isles and beyond, and to offer improved subject access and learning opportunities for Gaelic-medium secondaries and teachers across the country.

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Number of top grades awarded in language A-levels increases amid decline in students taking French and German

17 August 2017 (The Telegraph)

Changes to A-level language subjects to prevent non-native speakers from being penalised has led to a surge in top grades, figures published today suggest.

The proportion of A grades awarded in French, German and Spanish entries increased this year, after the exams regulator Ofqual asked exam boards to lower the grade boundaries.

Publication of the new guidance has seen the number of A grades awarded in French rise to 39 per cent, up from 37.3 per cent, whilst top grades in German has risen by 1.8 per cent.

The changes, outlined in a letter circulated among headteachers by Ofqual earlier this summer, said: "We have recently published research on the effect of native speakers in A-level French, German and Spanish.

"The evidence is not conclusive, but it does suggest that the proportion of native speakers taking these qualifications may have increased in recent years, as the overall entry has declined.

"Informed by this research, we believe there is a case for making a small upward adjustment to the predictions used to set grade A, and we will implement this for the summer 2017 A-levels."

The changes, outlined in a letter circulated among headteachers by Ofqual earlier this summer, said: "We have recently published research on the effect of native speakers in A-level French, German and Spanish.

"The evidence is not conclusive, but it does suggest that the proportion of native speakers taking these qualifications may have increased in recent years, as the overall entry has declined.

"Informed by this research, we believe there is a case for making a small upward adjustment to the predictions used to set grade A, and we will implement this for the summer 2017 A-levels."

However, the increase in top grades has been overshadowed by continuing drop-off in students taking up in traditionally popular modern languages, with the exception of Spanish, which saw entries increase by 1.7 per cent.

International languages are also gaining in popularity, including Arabic, Chinese and Italian.

Read more...

Related Links

A-Level and AS results published by JCQ (UCML, 17 August 2017) Overall, results show that entries for both Spanish and Other languages continue to grow (with an increase of 1.7 and 2% on last year's figures respectively). Article links to comprehensive data for all languages.

How Exercise Could Help You Learn a New Language

16 August 2017 (New York Times)

Learning a second language as an adult is difficult. But the process may be eased if you exercise while learning.

A new study reports that working out during a language class amplifies people’s ability to memorize, retain and understand new vocabulary. The findings provide more evidence that to engage our minds, we should move our bodies.

In recent years, a wealth of studies in both animals and people have shown that we learn differently if we also exercise. Lab rodents given access to running wheels create and maintain memories better than animals that are sedentary, for instance. And students consistently perform better on academic tests if they participate in some kind of physical activity during the school day.

Many scientists suspect that exercise alters the biology of the brain in ways that make it more malleable and receptive to new information, a process that scientists refer to as plasticity.

But many questions have remained unanswered about movement and learning, including whether exercise is most beneficial before, during or after instruction and how much and what types of exercise might be best.

So for the new study, which was published recently in PLOS One, researchers in China and Italy decided to home in on language learning and the adult brain.

Read more...

'The Smart Choice: German' schools network

15 August 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut is accepting applications to join the schools' network 'The Smart Choice: German'.

In 2016 the Goethe-Institut set up 19 Digital German Networks in the United Kingdom. It is now looking to build on this success and to identify further networks of secondary and/or primary schools that have the intention to start, facilitate and strengthen the teaching of German. 

At least three schools need to build a network. The lead partner can apply for the funding with the Goethe-Institut. It can be a secondary school supporting feeder schools or a cluster of primary schools reaching out to a secondary school teaching German. It can also be three primary schools in one area wanting to make a start with German or already having started with it.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website to find out more and to apply by 30 September 2017.

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Beyond the Panda programme for schools

15 August 2017 (RZSS)

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) Beyond the Panda programme has been further revised and contains some new materials, in particular the new P1-P3 panda boxes. 

The programme now has two main parts:

  1. China Mobile Library - loan of the panda boxes followed by an expert visit
  2. Outreach workshops - Education Officer led workshops

See the attached brochure for full details of the Beyond the Panda programme. 

There's also an opportunity for schools to book a Beyond the Panda special event at Edinburgh Zoo during 'The Giant Lanterns of China' installation between December 2017 and February 2018. The session will include whole class interactive activities and Mandarin language games. See more information and how to book on The Giant Lanterns of China brochure attached.

You can also visit the website for more information about the RZSS and its activities.

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Braehead Primary School Stirling - Getting to grips with languages!

15 August 2017 (SCILT/CISS/Braehead PS)

The children of Braehead Primary have been making languages come alive through a collaborative project with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) at Stirling Castle. This project saw P5 pupils working in groups on a number of different tasks. The end result was a virtual tour of Stirling Castle in Chinese, signage in Chinese, language training for castle tour guides and maps of the castle in Chinese. Learners' literacy skills benefited from the project, and their understanding about the world of work increased.

You can see the film in Chinese, set within the castle walls, on the school’s YouTube channel. The film will be entered for the British Film Festival awards in London in October.

The project had a positive impact on the wider school community.  The school has recently launched a Chinese character challenge. This is a whole-school competition where one character a week is introduced on their interactive wall in the dining hall – highly visible to all. At the end of term, pupils and teachers will take part in a quiz based on these characters with Chinese-themed prizes up for the taking! Pupils continue to produce language podcasts in Chinese and other languages. The podcasts can be accessed via the Braehead Primary Languages Café on the school’s website.

There are six classes at Braehead learning Chinese as L3 from P4 to P6. The P5s are the trailblazers and have been learning the language for nearly two years.

Read the full case study of the project for replicable ideas for your own school context to support partnership working and help your school deliver on Developing the Young Workforce.


photo of Braehead PS Stirling Castle project wall displayBraehead PS What I have learnt wall display

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French classes in Edinburgh

15 August 2017 (Institut français)

The Institut français d'Ecosse is enrolling for their autumn classes commencing September 2017.

Classes and workshops are offered for all ages (toddlers to adults), from complete beginners to fluent speakers.

Visit the website for more information and to enrol.

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Concours de la francophonie 2017 - final report

15 August 2017 (Institut français)

The Concours de la francophonie was launched in 2016 by the Institut français d'Ecosse to showcase the vitality of the French language in Scottish schools and to encourage all learners from P1 to S6.

To enter the competition schools sent in a short film of a class activity in French.

See the attached document for full details of the 2017 competition, winners and photographs.

Magical Christmas Trips 2017

15 August 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to take part in a Magical Christmas Trip this year and build on or set up a partnership with a school in Germany?

These visits offer primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

There are two options for getting involved:
  • apply to take part in a visit to Berlin run by UK-German Connection to set up a link to a school in Germany
  • apply for funding and organisational support to run your own Christmas visit to an existing partner school anywhere in Germany
To find out more, please visit the UK-German Connection's website and apply by 26 September 2017.

Read more...

French drama workshops

15 August 2017 (Theatre sans Accents)

Whether you want to perfect your French or your English, Theatre Sans Accents has the right workshop to suit your needs and your level!

No need to be fluent or an experienced actor, everyone is welcomed in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere!

Bookings are now being taken for Autumn term classes, with early bird discounts available.

Follow the appropriate link below to find out more about classes for adults and children:

For children:

For adults:

You can find out more about Theatre sans Accents and their other activities on the website.

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Autumn term French classes

14 August 2017 (Alliance Française)

French classes for adults and children will start at the Alliance Française in Glasgow on 11 September 2017.

Visit the website for full details and to find out about Open Days where you can visit, meet staff and have your language level assessed to establish the best course for you.

Read more...

Gaelic school planned for Edinburgh as demand soars

11 August 2017 (The Times)

A dedicated Gaelic school could open in Edinburgh to cope with rising pupil numbers and soaring demand.

Edinburgh city council expects there to be more pupils than places at James Gillespie’s High School, where Gaelic education is currently provided, as soon as 2021.

The number of new pupils starting this month at Taobh na Pàirce primary, Edinburgh’s only Gaelic primary school, has also been far higher than anticipated.

Read more...

Top marks for pupil who attended three Glasgow schools

9 August 2017 (Evening Times)

One student has defied the odds to become one of Glasgow’s top achievers while attending not one but three city schools. 

Valentina Kanife moved to Glasgow from her home country of Italy in September 2015. When the 16-year-old joined the S4 class in St Margaret Mary’s in Castlemilk, she could not speak any English. Soon after starting the school, it became apparent that Valentina had a skill for languages and began working towards gaining her National 4’s. 

Staff at St Margaret Mary’s staff organised for Valentina to attend Holyrood Secondary for Higher Italian and Kings Park Secondary for Higher ESOL, while being taught Higher Spanish and National 5 maths at her own school. With the help of a bus pass, the teenager travelled between the three schools, sometimes on the same day. After a year of handwork, Valentia managed to gain all three Highers and a National 5 Maths qualifications, all within two years of being in Glasgow.

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No more music, Spanish or engineering: parents angry at cuts to GCSEs

8 August 2017 (The Guardian)

(Applies to England) Come through the main doors at Gateacre school in Liverpool, into an atrium with furniture in bright colours; on your right there’s a drama studio. On the door someone has put up a notice: “More than 9,994 students studying at Russell Group universities since 2012 have an A-level in drama and theatre.”

Gateacre still offers A-levels and GCSEs in drama and other creative subjects, despite having had to make some tough decisions about the curriculum. But across England, secondary pupils are finding themselves with fewer and fewer subject options, and teachers in the arts are feeling the pressure.

The government’s Ebacc accountability measure, which judges secondary schools according to the proportion of pupils gaining good GCSE grades in English, maths, sciences, a language and geography or history, has taken the brunt of the blame. Researchers from the University of Sussex who interviewed 650 state school teachers found two-thirds felt the Ebacc was responsible for fewer students taking GCSE music in their schools, for instance.

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Pupils who learn in second language ‘catch up on listening skills within a year'

7 August 2017 (TES)

Seven- and eight-year-olds from immigrant families make faster progress than their native-speaking peers, research shows.

Primary pupils who learn in a language other than the one they speak at home start out with poorer listening and reading skills, but “catch up” with native-speaking peers within one school year, researchers have found.

In a paper in the British Educational Research Journal, researchers from Ghent University in Belgium also looked at how pupils' listening and reading comprehension was affected by the proportion of their classmates who spoke a different language at home.

They found that classes with a greater proportion of non-native-speaking students achieved lower than average results at the start of the year, but by the end of the year this link had "disappeared".

Read more...

British Sign Language will count as 'foreign language' for university applicants

7 August 2017 (TES)

A leading university has announced plans to recognise British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications in its entry requirements.

University College London (UCL) said that in future, BSL will be considered as meeting the institution's modern foreign language (MFL) requirement.

The university is the only UK institution that requires all of its UK undergraduates to hold at least a C grade at GCSE in another language or to sign up for courses as part of their degree.

It has now announced that it will recognise sign language as part of the requirement, saying it hopes the decision will increase awareness and access to the language.

Read more...

Language immersion in Australian schools

4 August 2017 (ABC News)

Video report from ABC News on South Australia's Department for Education and Child Development's (DECD) language immersion programmes in schools.

The news story highlights that in just six months students at two schools have immersed themselves in the French and Chinese language.

See the video online on the DECD Facebook page, or read an earlier published news item 'Adelaide schools finding success with bilingual classes in French and Chinese' on the policy (ABC, 23 June 2017).

Read more...

Shy holiday Britons 'point at menus' to avoid foreign words

4 August 2017 (BBC)

Over half of Britons who holiday abroad say they have pointed at a restaurant menu to avoid having to pronounce non-English words, a survey suggests.

And almost half said they were embarrassed at not being able to speak the local language while away.

But 80% of more than 1,700 people questioned for the British Council felt it was important to learn some phrases.

"Trying out a few words is the perfect way to get started," said Vicky Gough, British Council schools advisor.

The Populus survey found 37% of British holidaymakers always tried to speak a few words in the local language but 29% said they were too scared to try.

It also found that 36% felt guilty at asking locals to speak English, while:
  • 56% resorted to pointing at menus
  • 45% relied on the assumption that all locals would speak English
  • 42% spoke English more slowly and loudly
  • 15% even tried speaking English in a foreign accent
A minority (15%) admitted to being so unwilling to try pronouncing words from other languages that they would only eat in British or fast food restaurants while overseas, rather than sampling local cuisine.

A similar number said they preferred staying in self-contained resorts to avoid local culture.

Read more...

Parents 'key' to securing future of Gaelic in Scotland

3 August 2017 (BBC)

The future of Gaelic in Scotland could be down to parents - even if they do not speak the language themselves, according to researchers.

The University of Strathclyde said increased use of a language at home was a "first step" in its use in wider society.

Researchers surveyed 236 parents and children on the Isle of Lewis and on Sardinia.

The study included speakers and non-speakers of Gaelic and Sardinian.

Three quarters of respondents felt speaking a minority language was equally important to speaking their national tongue.

Dr Fraser Lauchlan, of the University of Strathclyde's School of Psychological Sciences and Health, said: "Previous research from more than two decades ago found that there was almost a level of embarrassment about speaking such languages and they were discouraged for many years.

"It is only in recent times that there has been a re-emergence of the importance placed on these languages - possibly because of a better understanding of the benefits that being bilingual can bring, but also because of their promotion at national or regional level by governments, including the specific introduction of legislation."

He suggested parents could encourage their children to read and to watch TV programmes in a minority language, which may even lead to them learning it themselves.

Read more...

Related Links

Parents may hold the key to securing the future of Gaelic (The National, 3 August 2017)

Parents' encouragement could keep Gaelic alive (Press and Journal, 3 August 2017)

Future of Gaelic lies with non-speakers, study finds (The Herald, 4 August 2017)

Which language should we teach in school?

2 August 2017 (MEITS blog)

Increasing motivation for language learning in UK schools and encouraging children to maintain their languages study past the point at which they have the chance to stop is an ongoing challenge. One important question here is: to what extent are success and motivation linked to the particular language pupils study?

The myth of the monolingual Brit, who refuses to speak foreign languages, has been supplemented in recent years by the narrative that we are not only unwilling, but also unable to speak foreign languages. For example, the 2012 European Survey on Language Competences, which sought to provide comparable data on standards of achievement in 15-year old learners across 16 participating countries, showed pupils in England languishing at the bottom of the table, where the learning of the first foreign language (French) was concerned.

The figures, however, tell a slightly different story when we consider the learning of the second foreign language. For example, Sweden, which had topped the charts for English proficiency, languished at the bottom when it came to the learning of the second foreign language (Spanish); learners in English secondary schools who were studying German as a second language did better.

Leaving aside the difficulty of providing robust data from such surveys, this study provides support for the idea that the language learned really does matter. Motivation for English learning is so strong in most parts of the world that for many learners it is now a life skill as much as a foreign language. Motivation for studying the second and third foreign languages, however, can be as difficult to achieve in other parts of the world as it is for the first in our own setting.

In Europe and the rest of the world English’s position as the foreign language of choice remains unassailable. For example, the 2017 Eurodice Report, which provides key data on teaching languages at school in Europe, reports that in 2014 virtually all EU students (97.3 %) studied English during the entire period of lower secondary education. After that came French (33.7 %), German (23.1 %) and Spanish (19.1 %), with other languages rarely studied.

The question of which language should we teach our learners in England remains a source of debate.

Read more...

Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme

1 August 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme exists to create links between schools and Japanese-speaking volunteers. JTS volunteers carry out school visits across the UK to introduce students at any level to the Japanese language, often as part of an International or Japan day. One of the main purposes of JTS is to give schools that do not teach Japanese the opportunity to find out what it is like to learn the language and to provide them with further information should they wish to start offering Japanese. More information about the programme can be found on the Japan Foundation website.

Japan Foundation London currently has a UK-wide network of over 300 volunteers, and are always looking for more! Guidance and training sessions are offered to all members to prepare them for delivering Japanese taster sessions at schools. The next Volunteer Training Day will take place in London on 12 September 2017. If you speak Japanese and are interested in becoming part of the volunteer network, find out more and book your place now!

Read more...

UK students ‘may be barred from Erasmus after Brexit’

1 August 2017 (THE)

Erasmus, the world's largest student exchange scheme, is celebrating its 30th birthday.

With more than three million participants since 1987, it is one of the best known and most successful policies of the European Union. 

Now including adult learners, vocational students and those on work placements, in addition to university students, it has created an “Erasmus generation”, having been responsible for more than a million babies born from couples who met as part of the scheme.

About 16,000 UK students now spend a semester or a year abroad as part of Erasmus every year. France, Spain and Germany remain the most popular destinations for these students, reflecting the traditional emphasis on students taking modern language or combination degrees. However, many universities across continental Europe now offer modules in English, which has helped to increase the number of UK students able to participate who do not have prior language skills. As students strive to add distinctiveness to their CVs, the number of UK participants has increased.

In addition, the UK is one of the most popular destinations for European students, with these study placements becoming part of Britain's cultural and educational ‘soft power’ by creating thousands of de-facto UK alumni across Europe.

However, while the House of Commons Education Committee believes that “continued membership of Erasmus+ would be the best outcome for the UK”, its future participation was not mentioned in the government’s recent White Paper.  The government has only committed itself to considering future participation.

The question therefore is “can the UK continue to be part of it post-Brexit?”

Since Erasmus is a programme of the European Union and established by EU law, the initial answer is no.

However, as with everything else, all depends on the exit agreement between the UK and EU before the UK leaves in March 2019. It may be that the UK continues to be a part of the scheme up to the end of the current programme (2014-2020) with future involvement subject to a separate agreement.

Read more...

From Brexit to Scandi-noir: The Importance of Modern Foreign Languages

31 July 2017 (AHRC)

Many of us will be familiar with the sight of groups of young language students in UK cities over the summer months. Their excitement at being abroad away from their parents often for the first time is obvious. In 2016, he International Association of Language Centres (IALC) reported that there were 2.28 million language students travelling abroad each year, with English language travel making up around 61% of this market.

Whilst these language-learners only represented 0.25% of second language learners across the entire globe, most travelled to English-speaking countries to learn English. If the motivation for learning English in our increasing globalised world is clear, the British often struggle to appreciate the reasons for learning another language.

“The headline news for Modern Languages recently has not been good, with decreasing numbers of entrants at A-level and a number of university departments under threat of closure or severe contraction", said Wendy Ayres-Bennett, Professor of French Philology and Linguistics from the University of Cambridge.

In response to this national concern and its global implications, the AHRC has committed £16m to research in modern foreign languages (MFL) in its Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) project. Its aim is to explore and understand the language learning landscape of the UK, and how it might be transformed.

As part of OWRI, the AHRC has invested in four major research programmes, one of which is Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS). Alongside her responsibilities at Cambridge, Prof Ayres-Bennett is Principal Investigator for the MEITS project.

“I think that in the current political climate of Brexit and of extensive migration, the need to learn modern foreign languages has arguably never been more important", says Prof Ayres-Bennett.

“I believe that there are huge benefits from being able to step outside a single language, culture and mode of thought", explains Prof Ayres-Bennett. "It enables you to see the world through other people’s eyes".

Prof Ayres-Bennett argues that the ability to speak another language is valuable to many different areas of society. "Whether we think of international relations, diplomacy, security and defence, or areas such as conflict-resolution and peace-building, or, crucially today, business, international trade, and social cohesion, all of these have languages at their heart."

Linguists are needed to provide vital translation and interpreting services. However, the need for direct communication between parties was well demonstrated by the experience of the British military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prof Ayres-Bennett also thinks that through reading literature in the language in which it was written, we can begin to see the world through the linguistic categories and worldview of its speakers.

"The gradual opening up of new worlds and the move from incomprehension to being able to make sense of another language and culture can be truly magical ”, says Prof Ayres-Bennett.

Scandi noir dramas have become very popular and one of the biggest hits of the year has been the Spanish language song 'Despacito'. Many young people in Europe improve their English through listening to music and watching films in English so that they no longer need to depend on subtitles.“TV and the internet increasingly provide opportunities for people to view foreign language material and to learn about other cultures.”

Read more...

Certificate of Continuing Education (CCed) in Spanish 2017-18

28 July 2017 (University of Strathclyde)

Applications are open for the University of Strathclyde's Certificate of Continuing Education in Spanish (evening classes).

The CCed course will be of interest to those who wish to learn Spanish, including primary and secondary school teachers and a range of professional people with an interest in the Spanish world and their language. The Certificate provides a General Teaching Council approved qualification, subject to a 13 week residency period in a Spanish speaking country.

See the attached flyer for more information, including how to enrol for the September 2017 intake.

Related Files

Survey shows long-term impacts of language travel

27 July 2017 (The Pie)

When asked what helped them improve their language skill the most, 90% of respondents to global language provider Sprachcaffe’s Language Learning Sustainability Project said it was face-to-face interaction with other people.

Over half said they are more confident speaking the language thanks to the experience of learning abroad while 20% said it helped them travel more and 13% said it contributed to a change in their work life.

“Our product [study travel] is unique because it’s learning and travel. When it comes to language learning you can do it online quick and easy but if you want something more valuable you have language learning trips,” said Pauline Pitte, the study’s co-author.

Taken over six months in 2016, the survey attracted former students from all over the world who had been on a language course abroad within the last five to 10 years. The project aims to show the long-term impacts of language learning abroad, said Pitte.

“We don’t want to make this about online versus in-class learning, we just wanted to explore the package students get when they go on language exchanges. Is it efficient for everyone?”.

Read more...

Bonnyrigg school establishes links with China

21 July 2017 (Midlothian Advertiser)

It’s been a very busy time for Hawthornden Primary School.

Following their successful school show ‘Hairspray’, Hawthornden pupils have excelled themselves again by performing at the launch of the Confucius Primary Hub.

The audience was entertained by P7s performing a Dragon Dance, a Fan Dance and Looking for a Friend. P6s performed a colours song in Mandarin. P3 pupils, who attend Mandarin classes at the Children’s University at Queen Margaret, amazed everyone by reading and translating a Mandarin story. Chinese colleagues praised their accents and pronunciation.

S4 Lasswade High School pupils also performed a dance to show primary pupils how Mandarin can be continued in high school.

Read more...

Young Brits to make German connections

19 July 2017 (UK Government)

More British youngsters will be able to learn about German language and culture after a new agreement was made between the Foreign Secretary and the German Foreign Minister.

Boris Johnson and Sigmar Gabriel have signed off on a doubling of funding for UK-German Connection (UKGC), which means an increase in the number of places available on the scheme.

The funding increase, to around £230,000 and matched by the German government, will expand the scheme’s work in bringing together children and teachers in both countries to learn about each other’s language, history, and culture.

Read more...

Babies can distinguish between familiar and foreign languages while still in the womb

18 July 2017 (Daily Mail)

Fetuses can distinguish between someone speaking to them in English and Japanese one month before they are born, researchers have found.

Fetuses can hear things in the womb, including speech - although it's muffled.

But they can still perceive the rhythm of a language, and the study suggests that fetuses discriminate between different types of language based on rhythmic patterns.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center, has implications for fetal research in other fields, says the lead author.

'Research suggests that human language development may start really early - a few days after birth,' said Dr Utako Minai, associate professor of linguistics and the team leader on the study.

'Babies a few days old have been shown to be sensitive to the rhythmic differences between languages.

'Previous studies have demonstrated this by measuring changes in babies' behavior; for example, by measuring whether babies change the rate of sucking on a pacifier when the speech changes from one language to a different language with different rhythmic properties.

'This early discrimination led us to wonder when children's sensitivity to the rhythmic properties of language emerges, including whether it may in fact emerge before birth.

Read more...

The Welshest word on the planet – and nine other phrasebook essentials

12 July 2017 (The Guardian)

Hŵre! The Welsh government has said it wants to increase the number of Welsh speakers to a million by 2050. The plans irritated some anti-Welsh detractors, who seem to believe the language is only spoken when English people walk into a Welsh pub. With our help, you, too, can scare monoglots in your area! Here are some Welsh words and phrases (with pronunciation) that you might find useful.

Read more...

Spanish Language and DELE Preparation Online Courses

7 July 2017 (University of Strathclyde)

These new online courses are aimed at prospective candidates for the DELE exams. They will cover the different proficiency levels described by the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages): A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

Although the courses are aimed at familiarising learners with the format of the DELE exams, they also help to prepare you where a particular level of proficiency in Spanish is needed such as working or living abroad, support for other university courses and primary school language policies.

Related Files

A traffic-light system to drive pupils towards learning Chinese

7 July 2017 (TESS)

Forgive me if I get straight to the point, but I know time is sparse for teachers and this message is important. There are five key reasons that every child should learn Mandarin Chinese. And they are as follows:
  1. China is one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures, with more than 5,000 years of history and the world’s longest continuous writing system. Learning Mandarin Chinese will open the door to a wealth of literature, poetry and art and gives students a unique insight into a fascinating culture.
  2. China is also the most populous nation in the world and Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than one billion people. In many countries, Mandarin Chinese is becoming the most popular foreign language and it is likely to become Asia’s future lingua franca. Speaking Mandarin will create opportunities for work and travel throughout Asia – and beyond.
  3. Almost a quarter of internet usage is conducted in Chinese, while China’s economy is the second largest in the world. Proficiency in Mandarin Chinese is hugely beneficial for a career in business or the diplomatic service, and it is now one of the priority languages for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  4. Learning Mandarin Chinese is mentally stimulating and challenging; research has shown that while English speakers only use the left temporal lobe, speakers of Mandarin use both left and right. One advantage of this increased brain activity is that Mandarin speakers are more likely to have perfect pitch. In addition, learning to write characters can help with motor skills and visual recognition.
  5. The unique challenges of learning Chinese engage and motivate learners who might not be your “typical linguists”: mathematicians enjoy the logicality of the language; artistic children may enjoy “drawing” characters; musical children can distinguish and recall the tones more easily; children who struggle with dyslexia find relief in not having to learn another set of spelling and phonology rules.
That’s all very well, you might claim, but the school timetable is crowded and integrating a new subject area would take up that time we don’t have.

To counter this line of argument, I offer you a traffic light of options to ensure every child in your school can learn Mandarin.

Read the full article in TESS online, 7 July 2017 (subscription required).

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Murray faces his toughest interview yet!

6 July 2017 (BBC Sport)

Andy Murray faces his toughest interview yet as children get the chance to quiz the British number one.

How will Andy respond to the first question: "How many languages do you speak?"

Read more...

An open letter to my student peers: why you need to rethink languages

5 July 2017 (TES)

Language learning in school suffers from negative attitudes, cultural issues and an approach to teaching that is too guarded and not ambitious enough, says this Year 12 student.

Read more...

Coming soon: SCILT Associates

23 June 2017 (SCILT)

New for session 2017/18, SCILT is compiling a database of partners and stakeholders, including teachers from all sectors, who wish to become associate members of the SCILT team.

Throughout the year, we may contact our associates if we are planning either a project or piece of work where we require additional capacity, expertise or advice.

If you think you might like to work more closely with the team and help us enlarge the 'SCILT family', then please keep your eye on the bulletin at the start of the new session when we will be able to give further information and sign up details.

Chinese intensive courses

22 June 2017 (Heriot-Watt University)

The Scottish Confucius Institute for Business and Communication at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh is holding two Chinese summer courses in July.

Follow the appropriate link below to find out more about the course and to book your place:
  • Intensive beginners 1 (10-14 July 2017) - for complete beginners with little or no knowledge of Chinese
  • Intensive beginners 2 (17-22 July 2017) - for those who have either completed Intensive beginners 1 or have equivalent knowledge of the Chinese language

Understanding the amazing complexity of sign language

21 June 2017 (The Conversation)

Most people are familiar with sign language, the system that deaf people use to communicate. What fewer may know is that there are many different sign languages around the world, just as there are many different spoken languages.

So how does the grammar of sign language work?

Unlike in spoken languages, in which grammar is expressed through sound-based signifiers for tense, aspect, mood and syntax (the way we organise individual words), sign languages use hand movements, sign order as well as body and facial cues to create grammar. This is called non-manual activity.

To find out whether these cues are comprehensible to signers and non-signers of a country, my team of deaf and hearing linguists and translators conducted two studies. The results, which will be published in July, demonstrate the incredible complexity of sign language.

Read more...

Gaelic e-bulletin - June 2017

21 June 2017 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest Gaelic e-bulletin has just been issued and can be accessed online.

Read more...

French summer classes in Glasgow

19 June 2017 (Alliance Française)

There are still places available on the Summer Classes being run by the Alliance Française de Glasgow between June and September 2017. Classes are available for all levels.

Semi-Intensive Courses: enrol in a 4-week French programme suitable for complete beginners, or reinforce your language skills with revisions.

Intensive Courses: brush-up on your French with revisions over the course of 3 days.

Visit the website for more information and to enrol.

Read more...

Why just speaking English isn’t going to cut it anymore

15 June 2017 (The Conversation)

Britain is facing an uncertain future and an uneasy relationship with Europe after Brexit and the latest general election. Among other things, a key determiner of the success of Brexit will be the UK’s ability to conduct negotiations without language barriers. But the country’s woeful inability to learn languages, and the decline in foreign language learning among school and university students across Britain, does not bode well.

Of course, Welsh, Gaelic, Irish and Cornish are already spoken in some parts of the UK. And while it’s great to see many of these minority languages experiencing something of a revival over recent years, when it comes to life after Brexit it’s languages from further afield that will likely be most useful to Brits.

Many people in the UK may well ask “why we need languages” when “everyone in Europe speaks English anyway”. Indeed, all Brexit negotiations will be conducted in English. But given that the UK’s lack of foreign language skill is estimated to cost the nation up to £48 billion a year, this isn’t something that can just be ignored. Especially considering this figure is unlikely to decrease in post-Brexit Britain.

Read more...

More school pupils to benefit from Bangor University language mentors

13 June 2017 (Daily Post)

More school students across North Wales will be able to take part in a successful Modern Languages Mentoring programme thanks to a further Welsh Government investment of £140,000 for the third year of the project.

Launched in 2015, the Modern Foreign Languages Student Mentoring project places undergraduates from Bangor, Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea universities into local schools to mentor pupils and encourage them to consider modern foreign languages when choosing their GCSE options.

The mentoring project is part of the Welsh Government’s Global Futures plan, which aims to improve and promote the take-up of modern foreign languages in schools in Wales.

Over the last two years the mentoring scheme has had a significant impact on partner schools, who have reported an increase in pupils choosing languages at GCSE as well as improved motivation to continue learning languages and to consider university.

The Welsh Government is now extending the project to include a new digital platform to increase its reach to schools and pupils who have not been able to engage with the project due to geographical location.

Read more...

Top tips for kids learning a foreign language in Glasgow

13 June 2017 (Glasgow Live)

It's no secret that Glaswegians, and Brits, are guilty of being reluctant to speak foreign languages.

However Glasgow City Council, along with many other local authorities, are under increasing pressure to make foreign language learning one of their top priorities in education - particularly at primary level.

And it appears they have good reason to do so.

Studies show that children who study a language from as young as three years old possess better critical thinking skills and score higher in maths and problem solving.

It can also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimers in later years.

Of course, leaning a language takes time and dedication.

But according to Rose McGinty, principal teacher at Glasgow's first Spanish immersion camp for children, Oso Spanish, there are plenty of ways to make language learning effective and great fun.

'A German Classic' - essay prize for senior phase students

12 June 2017 (Oxford University)

The University of Oxford is delighted to announce the launch of a new essay prize competition: ‘A German Classic’. It is aimed at students with a GCSE or equivalent in German and currently in Sixth-form (equivalent to Years 12 and 13 or S5 and S6 in Scotland).

The classic celebrated this year is Goethe’s Faust, Part I. The task is to write an essay in English (between 2000 and 3000 words) so students who are not yet able to write fluently in German can focus on the challenges of engaging with the language, ideas and conflicts of the work itself.

Visit the university's website to find out more about the competition, prizes and how to submit entries by 13 September 2017.

Read more...

South American Spanish Day @ The Zoo

11 June 2017 (Preston Street Primary)

Thursday the 8th June was an important date for P6 and not because Theresa May decided to have her snap election that day. P6 at Preston Street Primary managed to secure themselves an opportunity to attend a South American Spanish Day event at Edinburgh Zoo.

To start the day off P6 had a short introduction via a video from Dr. Arnaud Desbiez who manages the RZSS South American projects. This was followed by Sandie Robb explaining a new initiative ‘Science in the Language Class’ which links to RZSS conservation projects to language learning. This led into a fun quiz which covered facts about some South American animals and included Spanish questions on numbers, colours and parts of the body. Afterwards, a gentleman by the name of Xabier San Isidro told us his story of how his love for languages shaped his life.

Read more...

UK-German Connection news - Summer 2017

9 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of opportunities for UK schools to partner with a school in Germany. The following options are currently available. Follow the appropriate link for more information:

Visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more about all their activities.

Read more...

Young Applicants in Schools

8 June 2017 (Open University)

The Open University's Young Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS) gives S6 students in Scotland the unique opportunity to study a range of university level modules in school alongside their other studies.

YASS is designed to bridge the gap between school and university, college or employment and helps motivated students stand out from the crowd. It encourages independent learning and builds confidence. Key skills like time management and accessing electronic resources are developed.

Registration for YASS modules is organised through the school, although students deal directly with The OU when it comes to their course work and assessment.

See the webpage for an overview of the language modules which can be studied.

Visit the Open University website or contact Sylvia Warnecke for more information about the YASS scheme and to enrol.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2017 - Winners announced!

7 June 2017 (Education Scotland)

Congratulations to all the winners in this year's Scottish Education Awards, particularly those schools who came top in the language categories:
  • St Winning's Primary School, North Ayrshire Council (Making Languages Come Alive)
  • Ardnamurchan High School, The Highland Council (Gaelic Education Award)

Visit the website for information and photos of all the category winners.

Read more...

Mandarin success in Scottish schools

6 June 2017 (Spectrum Sino)

Recently-launched efforts to teach Mandarin in Scottish schools have been hailed for the interest they have created amongst children to learn more about Chinese culture, history and language.

Schools across the country have celebrated the opening of their Confucius classroom hubs.

Read more...

Related Links

Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme 2017

5 June 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Foundation London is looking for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education. You can apply for up to £3,000.

We prioritise projects that fit into one of the three following categories:
  1. Introducing Japanese into the curriculum at a primary or secondary school
  2. Supporting GCSE or A-level Japanese courses
  3. Introducing Japanese extracurricular club or enrichment subject at a primary or secondary school
The next deadline to apply for funding is Friday 16 June 2017.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information.

Read more...

Mother Language Dictates Reading Strategy

4 June 2017 (Language Magazine)

The way bilingual people read is conditioned by the languages they speak, according to researchers at Spain’s Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language (BCBL), who found that the languages spoken by bilingual people (when they learned to read in two languages at the same time) affect their reading strategies and even the cognitive foundations that form the basis for the capacity to read.

“Monolingual speakers of transparent [phonetic] languages—where letters are pronounced the same independently of the word they are included in, such as Basque or Spanish—have a greater tendency to use analytical reading strategies, where they read words in parts,” according to Marie Lallier, one of the authors of the article, “Cross-Linguistic Transfer in Bilinguals Reading in Two Alphabetic Orthographies: The grain size accommodation hypothesis,” published in the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

On the other hand, speakers of opaque languages, where the sounds of letters differ depending on the word (for example English or French) are more likely to use a global reading strategy. In other words, they tend to read whole words to understand their meaning.

Researchers also observed that bilingual people who learned to read two languages at the same time do not read the same way as monolingual speakers; rather, they follow a different pattern which had not previously been described—a contamination effect takes place between the two reading strategies in speakers of two languages. Therefore, a person learning to read in Spanish and in English will have a greater tendency toward a global strategy, even when reading in Spanish, than a monolingual Spanish speaker.

Read more...

In an age of Brexit and closing borders we need to embrace multilingualism

2 June 2017 (The Independent)

Being able to speak to people in their own tongue instantly breaks down hostility and broadens the mind. But in the age of Brexit, the acquisition of other languages has become a political act. Andy Martin wonders was there ever a Big Bang moment when we all understood each other?

Read more...

Celebrating BLC success!

2 June 2017 (CISS)

Pupils from Lasswade High School were presented with certificates and a badge each on Wednesday 31 May for completing an app which they designed for young Chinese visitors to Edinburgh Castle.

The S3 pupils had researched Edinburgh Castle, making a visit before and after designing the trail (the latter visit to test it). With the support of the app company, 'Global Treasure Apps', they created a trail for young speakers of Chinese who might visit the castle. This is an age group the castle want to attract to the premises more effectively; moreover, the number of tourists from China is increasing all the time. After London, Edinburgh Castle is the second favourite spot for Chinese visitors to the UK.

The S3 pupils worked in teams and the winning team all received a phone charger from the app company.

The pupils will build on their success and most will continue with Mandarin into S4.

This is a good example of a Business Language Champions (BLC) project impacting on uptake in the Senior Phase: working together with outside partners such as Historic Environment Scotland, the app company and CISS.

Visit the BLC pages of our website for more information about the scheme and to find out how schools and businesses can get involved.

BLC participants at Lasswade High SchoolBLC presentations at Lasswade High School

French workshops for Higher and Advanced Higher students

30 May 2017 (Institut français)

The Institut français is offering a series of 4 workshops from September to December 2017 to help S5 and S6 students preparing for their exam.

Visit the Institut français website for further details and to apply by 23 June.

Read more...

Which languages Americans learn and why

26 May 2017 (BBC News)

John Kerry joked about Americans learning Russian, but global politics do influence languages studied.

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Which language would ease our way in the post-Brexit world?

24 May 2017 (The Guardian)

We Brits are pretty settled in our role as monoglots. Our default tactic of “speak English slowly and loudly so others can understand you” served us well enough – and then Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, put the boot in by claiming recently that “English is losing importance.”

Is this really the case? Experts are divided.

Read more...

German Certificate Exams

24 May 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

Goethe-Institut examinations are well known throughout the world and the associated certificates are accepted as a qualification by employers and further education institutions in many countries. Dates for the next season of exams have been published on the Goethe-Institut website.

Read more...

CISS Spring 2017 newsletter

24 May 2017 (CISS)

The Spring 2017 CISS newsletter has now been published online. It is a great showcase of all the fabulous work being done across Scotland to promote Chinese language and culture.

You can view and download the newsletter on the CISS website.

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French summer workshop for children

23 May 2017 (Alliance Française de Glasgow)

Alliance Française de Glasgow are pleased to announce it will be running a special summer workshop for primary school children (P1-P7) in early July.

This is a great opportunity for the children to improve their language skills, experience life and culture in France as well as make new friends through fun activities!

Read more...

Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe – 2017 Edition

18 May 2017 (Eurydice)

The 2017 Edition of Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe depicts the main education policies regarding teaching and learning of languages in 42 European education systems.

Some of the questions answered in the report:
  • How long do students spend studying foreign languages?
  • What are the ten most commonly offered foreign languages?
  • Do foreign language teachers travel abroad for training?
  • How many immigrant students speak the language of schooling at home?
  • Plus much more
The report can be accessed on the European Commission's Eurydice website.

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Promoting linguistic skills a priority under the Czech chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

18 May 2017 (ECML)

The Czech Republic takes over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 19 May. Among the nine designated priorities of the 6 month chairmanship is the promotion of human rights education and linguistic skills.

“The Czech Republic continuously develops and improves tools for linguistic and cultural inclusion in Czech schools to help them deal with the increasing number of pupils whose mother tongue differs from the language of instruction. In this connection, the Czech Chairmanship will actively co-operate with the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML) on promoting teachers’ and other language professionals’ capacities to develop linguistic skills and intercultural competences of learners, as a prerequisite for their successful education.

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Euroscola dates for autumn 2017

16 May 2017 (European Parliament)

Euroscola brings together about 600 students from all over the European Union for a day in Strasbourg discussing aspects of European integration, in multilingual working groups of 100 students. It is open to students aged 16-18 and the European Parliament offers a subsidy towards the costs of the journey to Strasbourg.

As working groups consist of students from several member states it is essential that participants have a sound knowledge of at least one other European Union language. For practical purposes knowledge of French is necessary as during the "committee" meetings in the afternoon, students are expected to think and speak in a language other than their mother tongue. The debates are held mainly in French and English.

Dates for the autumn term 2017 are now available.

To find out more and to apply, visit the Euroscola website.

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Falkirk win at Euroquiz final

16 May 2017 (SEET)

Congratulations to the P6 team from Comely Park Primary School, who won the Scottish European Educational Trust’s National Euroquiz Final 2017, which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 15th May 2017.

Team members Tamsin Gold, Edwin Walker, Robyn Dewar-Young and Jaymie Jones were crowned SEET’s Euroquiz Champions 2017 at the national final. The winners were closely followed by St Leonard’s Primary School team from South Lanarkshire, in a nail-biting final round. Sciennes Primary School from Edinburgh also did incredibly well, winning the prize for third place.

Euroquiz is run by the Scottish European Educational Trust, a non-political charity, which promotes education about language learning, Europe and the wider world amongst Scotland’s young people.

See the attached press release for full details about this year's competition and participating schools.

If your school might like to take part in future competitions, visit the SEET website for more information.

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Related Files

Related Links

Third Place in Euroquiz 2017! (Sciennes Primary School, 15 May 2017) - post includes photos and links to the event on Parliament TV.

Young Language Learner Award - 2017

15 May 2017 (B small publishing)

The Young Language Learner Awards are back!

B small publishing are inviting children and young people to write a four-page story in a foreign language they are learning (choose from Chinese, English, French, German, Italian or Spanish) to be in with a chance of winning books worth £50.

One winner will be picked from the under 6 category and one winner from the 6 and over entries.

Visit the website for full details and to submit entries by 15 June 2017.

Read more...

Language Perfect World Championships 2017

12 May 2017 (ALL)

This year's Language Perfect World Championships take place from 15 - 25 May.

Students participate in the world's largest online languages event over 10 days with the chance to earn certificates and qualify for awards and prizes by translating between their target language and English. The competition is relevant for everyone, whatever their ability.

The first 500 schools to register will receive 50 free entries. (ALL members can register all students for free).

Find out more about the competition via the ALL webpage and the competition website.

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Leaving Certificate language students ‘learning off’ exam answers

11 May 2017 (Irish Examiner)

(Relates to Ireland) In a series of reports on student performance in language exams last June, chief examiners say students must learn how to adapt, instead of using learned-off answers.

The issues were most acute in the 2016 Leaving Certificate exams in Spanish, French, and Italian.

There are many positive aspects, particularly about the competencies of more able students of the six languages, which also included German, Japanese, and Russian.

But in oral exams, which are worth between 20% and 25% of marks in language subjects, a common concern is that students have prepared answers.

The Spanish Leaving Certificate examiner reported, for example, that a number of students had been taught in a “rote-learning” manner that prevented the natural flow of conversation.

“Many candidates had prepared a range of topics in the general conversation, but, when gently disengaged from rote-learned topics, found it difficult to communicate effectively in the target language,” the reports said.

The reports are published today by the State Examinations Commission (SEC), whose chief examiner in Leaving Certificate French said most students were well-prepared for the orals and had a high degree of proficiency and fluency.

However, at the other end of the scale, some of the 25,758 students examined in the subject had difficulty answering even simple questions.

Read more...

Update to CISS Professional Learning Menu 2016-17

11 May 2017 (CISS)

The CISS 2016-17 professional learning menu 'Making Chinese work for you' has been updated to include two new cross-sector workshops:
  • Parent/carer engagement with the learning of Mandarin
  • Coaching and mentoring for your Hanban teacher/volunteer

Visit the Professional Learning page of the CISS website to find out more and to arrange a learning event.

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National Digital Learning Week 2017

9 May 2017 (Digilearn)

National Digital Learning Week takes place from 15-19 May 2017.

This year the theme of the week is ‘Digital Difference’ and throughout the week you’re invited to share and celebrate the digital approaches which make a positive impact on your classroom practice.

Why not use this opportunity to share any digital approaches you have to language teaching and learning in your classroom?

Visit the website to find out more about how you can participate and be inspired.

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The Stephen Spender Prize 2017

9 May 2017 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The 2017 Stephen Spender Prize is open for entries. Entrants are invited to submit an English translation of a poem from any language, ancient or modern. As always, there are prizes in three categories – Open, 18-and-under and 14-and-under – and the competition is open to UK and Irish citizens and residents.

Entry deadline is Friday 26 May 2017.

Visit the website for further information and submission guidelines.

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Consul General Pan Xinchun Visits Fettes College

9 May 2017 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China)

On 4 May, Consul General Pan Xinchun paid a visit to Fettes College where he delivered a speech to the students and had a cordial meeting with the headmaster Michael Spens.

In his speech, Mr. Pan spoke highly of the Fettes College for its outstanding achievements in education. He indicated that well-educated students with global vision need knowledge about China. As the second largest economy, China has made huge contributions to the global development. He introduced the close links between China and Scotland by giving examples of people's daily life. Mr. Pan said, the demand in other countries for Mandarin speakers is increasing as China's cooperation with the rest of the world is deepening with a growing number of people learning Chinese language and culture. In Scotland alone, nearly 30,000 students from primary and secondary schools are learning. He encouraged the students to work hard and gain more understanding about China so as to build a bridge of friendship and cooperation between China and Scotland.

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EOL network ’Learning environments where modern languages flourish’ - 99 partner schools registered

9 May 2017 (ECML)

The EOL ECML project “Learning environments where modern languages flourish” has already succeeded in recruiting 99 partner schools and teachers in ten different countries; we will continue to accept new partner schools until the end of July 2017.

This European network of project partner schools will not only support one another in developing innovative approaches to establishing language friendly learning environments through an exchange of relevant resources, research and practice, but will have dedicated support from the project team throughout the lifespan of their school projects.

Visit the ECML website for more information and to register to join the EOL network.

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Pupil's sign language address to Scottish Parliament

9 May 2017 (BBC)

A profoundly deaf Falkirk High School pupil has delivered the Scottish Parliament's Time for Reflection in sign language.

Jemma Skelding, 12, is the youngest person to deliver the address, which is the parliament's first item of business of the week in the chamber.

Miss Skelding said she was pleased be at Holyrood ahead of next week's Deaf Awareness Week.

She told MSPs her parents and an older sister were also deaf.

Miss Skelding shared her experiences of using sign language in the address, which was translated by Mary McDevitt.

She said she grew up using sign language at home and thought everyone could use it, until she attended her first nursery.

Miss Skelding said that her next nursery taught everyone sign language half a day a week.

She said: "This was a really happy time for me.

"I was with my friends and I just felt like everyone else, we played together and we laughed a lot, we even had special sign names for each other."

Miss Skelding said things changed in P3, and by the following year she was "unhappy and felt very lonely."

Read more...

Brexit leads to surge in Brits wanting to learn new language, data finds

8 May 2017 (The Independent)

The British public’s appetite for learning foreign languages has increased significantly after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, according to newly released data.

Languages app Lingvist says it has seen a 91 per cent increase in UK users since the EU referendum last June, having compared its user base during the nine months before the vote to its user base in the nine months after the vote.

The popularity of English-Spanish courses has grown by 427 per cent, according to the data, with English-French courses experiencing a 342 per cent increase in popularity amongst British users.

“With Brexit around the corner, the growing concerns around how the UK will be able to bridge the language skills gap have been brought to the fore,” said Lingvist co-founder and COO Ott Jalakas.

“Government statistics show that the UK is already losing £50bn a year due to poor language skills with an over-reliance on one language affecting business turnover, profitability and expansion to new markets.

“Our data shows that the UK is on the right path to bridge the language learning gap.”

Read more...

Support language attainment in class with a Modern Language Assistant

8 May 2017 (British Council)

Employing a British Council language assistant is a unique way to broaden your students understanding of the world, improve their language skills and increase their cultural awareness.

Language assistants are dynamic, enthusiastic native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese, and are usually undergraduates or recent graduates. As we recruit language assistants directly from their home countries, their language is up-to-date, the classroom resources they provide are relevant and authentic, and they will be well placed to connect with students on their own level . Simply put, employing a language assistant provides the kind of learning experience that cannot be found elsewhere.

In a recent survey of host schools, Heads of Languages reported improved exam results – raising standards in under-performing students and motivating talented students to achieve more. The support of an Assistant is particularly valuable with the on-going focus on languages in the 1+2 initiative, and can particularly help to complement the development of language teaching in primary schools.

The deadline for applications has been extended to 31 May 2017.

For more information and to apply visit the British Council website.

Read more...

MTOT 2016-17 celebration event webpage now live

5 May 2017 (SCILT)

We're pleased to announce the SCILT website has been updated and details of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition award celebration held at the SEC, Glasgow in March are now available.

Here you can see photos of our winning performers, read the anthology of winning entries, access press articles and see feedback from pupils, teachers and parents.

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More sign language classes are to be held in Moffat due to demand

4 May 2017 (DNG24)

Resident Fiona Stewart, who is herself deaf, will lead the four sessions, starting on the evening of Wednesday May 17 and also running the 24 and 31 and June 7.

It comes after she hosted a successful initial introduction to British Sign Language (BSL) course earlier this year, attended by 50 people.

It was initiated by Catherine Jackson, whose children wanted to learn BSL.

She said: “The class was so popular that we ended up running two groups, both over four sessions. And there’s still a waiting list and requests for us to run more.”

Read more...

National 5 Modern Languages Course Specification

4 May 2017 (SQA)

SQA has just published the revised National 5 Course Specification.

This document contains important information about the changes to the Performance of Talking and the new Assignment-Writing.

The document can be accessed on the SQA website.

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Prince George has learnt to count in Spanish

3 May 2017 (The Telegraph)

Prince George can already count to ten in Spanish, the Duchess of Cambridge has disclosed, as she lifts the lid on their idyllic rural Good Life in Norfolk.

The Duchess said Prince George, who is not yet four, and Princess Charlotte, two, are both learning a second language, with the future king already cleverly picking it up.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2017 - Finalists

2 May 2017 (Scottish Education Awards)

Good luck to the Scottish Education Award finalists in the language categories!
Making languages come alive (primary)
  • Braehead Primary School, Stirling
  • Doune Primary School, Stirling
  • St Winning's Primary School, North Ayrshire
Gaelic Education Award / Duais Foghlam Gàidhlig
  • Ardnamurchan High School, Highland
  • Sgoil an Taobh Siar, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
  • Gartcosh Primary School, North Lanarkshire

The award presentations will take place on 7 June. For more information about the awards visit the Scottish Education Awards 2017 website.

Read more...

Japan Foundation Local Grant Programmes 2017-2018

2 May 2017 (Japan Foundation)

Japan Foundation London is now accepting grant applications for UK-based Japan related projects taking place in 2017-18 through local support programmes in the following fields:
  • Arts and Culture
  • Japanese Language
  • Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to apply.

Read more...

New job profile on SCILT's website

28 April 2017 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of professions where languages are being used.

Our latest addition comes from Charlie Foot, founder of Bili, the online language exchange platform for schools. Charlie explains how speaking to people in their own language creates opportunities for much deeper connections and cultural understanding.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Read more...

French summer classes in Glasgow

27 April 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is holding a number of classes/exams during summer 2017. Follow the appropriate link below to find out more information:

To find out more about the Alliance Française, visit their website.

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uTalk takes language learning to new heights with Emirates, the world’s largest international airline

26 April 2017 (uTalk)

London-based language experts uTalk are helping passengers on Emirates Airline prepare for arrival with new inflight language videos. They’ve produced a series of films, which can be seen on all Emirates flights, giving travellers an introduction to five languages, with beginner lessons covering first words, food and drink and getting around.

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Business Brunch 2017 events webpage now live!

25 April 2017 (SCILT)

A series of five successful Business Brunch events organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland took place this year where 535 learners from S3-S6 were given the opportunity to hear from a wide range of exciting business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

The events demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

Find out more about the events on our new Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

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UCMLS 1+2 action plan published!

25 April 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

Following our final consultation with stakeholders at the national UCMLS conference in Glasgow on 10 March 2017 we have produced our cross-sector Action Plan in support of Scotland's 1+2 language policy, and it is now available online. Click below for more details but please REFRESH THE PAGE to get the latest version of the webpage!
Marion Spöring, UCMLS chair.

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Link with a German school

24 April 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Broaden your pupils' horizons and enhance your school's international dimension by linking with a German school. Find out how to set up and develop a partnership with a German school, including practical tips and advice on joint activities, projects and visits to Germany.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Setting grade standards in A level modern foreign languages

21 April 2017 (UK Government)

Ofqual has today (21 April 2017) announced that it will take action this summer to ensure standards are set appropriately in A level French, German and Spanish.

The decision stems from new research, published by the regulator today, which suggests that awarding should take into account the fact that native language speakers take these subjects. The adjustment to grade standards will be decided in early summer. If the ability of the cohorts is similar to previous years we would anticipate small increases in the proportion of students getting top grades in each subject this August.

Read more...

Related Links

A-level language grades skewed by results of native speakers - study (The Guardian, 21 April 2017)

A-level language grades skewed by results of native speakers – study

21 April 2017 (The Guardian)

For years the British stereotype of Germans has been that they get the best of everything, from sun-loungers to football trophies – and now it seems they have been achieving the best A-level grades.

Research published by the exam regulator Ofqual has found that German-speaking children in the UK have been sitting A-level exams in their native language – and winning a disproportionate amount of A and A* grades on offer.

The Ofqual research estimated that about 17% of the students taking German A-levels in Britain may be native speakers, and gained about half of the top A* grades on offer – making it harder for non-native speakers sitting the exam.

The new research is good news for pupils taking this summer’s A-levels, with Ofqual suggesting it could increase the number of top grades it hands out, to ensure a level playing field between grades awarded in modern foreign languages and other subjects.

“If the ability of the cohorts is similar to previous years we would anticipate small increases in the proportion of students getting top grades in each subject this August,” Ofqual said in a statement.

The researchers found similar results in French and Spanish, with native speakers gaining higher than average GCSE scores. In Spanish, native speakers are almost 10 times more likely to achieve a grade A or A* than non-native speakers. Native-speaking Germans are 28 times more likely to achieve a grade A, and 11 times more likely to get an A*.

The research comes after complaints from leading schools that modern foreign languages are graded less generously than other subjects. But until now there has been no effort to account for native speakers as exam candidates.

Read more...

Public Consultation on the Third National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-22

21 April 2017 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

A public consultation process has been launched for the third National Gaelic Language Plan, 2017-2022. The plan sets out a strategy designed to grow the numbers learning and using Gaelic in Scotland.

The consultation period will close at 5pm on 17 May 2017.

Visit the Bòrd na Gàidhlig web survey to access the plan and take part in the consultation.

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

21 April 2017 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website demonstrating languages being used in a wide range of professions.

Our latest addition comes from David Rodger, Area Manager at Amazon Germany. He tells how people engage with you and realise you're on their side if you demonstrate the willingness to understand their language and culture.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Read more...

Photo exhibition workshops for primary schools: “Objectif sport”

20 April 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is organising educational workshops around sport and the French language in May and June. Through games and activities in French, pupils will learn about sport, sporting events and the values attached to them.

The workshops are designed for primary school pupils and their teachers (P3/P6) who visit the photo exhibition and are free of charge.

See the attached flyer for more information and booking instructions.

Biscuits galore!

20 April 2017 (CISS)

For some S2 pupils from Elgin Academy, the term began with a busy and exciting visit to Walkers Shortbread HQ in Aberlour, Moray.

The pupils have been studying Mandarin since January with the support of the Hanban teacher Sufang Wang and under the guidance of Jerome Lestienne, PT of Modern Languages. The pupils presented to members of the International team from Walkers and the HR team. The presentations reflected what they had learnt so far, which included simple greetings, some numbers (and how to express numbers with hand gestures) and explanations of what is peculiar to the Chinese language such as learning tones, characters, etc.

The presentations also incorporated advice on effective “dos and don’ts” of Chinese Business Etiquette. These were well received by the International Team, who later explained they are increasingly doing business with China. It is now one of the top ten countries with whom they deal and in the near future will be opening an office in Shanghai.

Pupils were judged on presentation skills, clarity of delivery, content, structure and language skills. (The latter were judged by members from CISS and the Hanban teacher.) The winning group were generously rewarded with a prize and all pupils left with a goodie bag.

Pupils were asked questions by the team regarding how they found learning Chinese. They replied they had found it interesting and were grateful to have the chance to learn some Chinese whilst at school.

The Director of the International Team thanked them for the useful and stimulating presentations. He highlighted the fact that future employees with such knowledge would be most welcome for the company to employ.
Walkers' staff enjoying the presentationElgin Academy pupils presenting

All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

19 April 2017 (News Talk)

(Applies to Ireland) All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister.

The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert students studying a foreign language by 10%.

Chinese will be introduced as a Leaving Cert subject for the first time, while so-called 'heritage languages' such as Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese will get a proper curriculum.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Minister Richard Bruton explained: "We are going to have to, post-Brexit, realise that one of the common weaknesses of English speaking countries - that we disregard foreign languages - has to be addressed in Ireland.

"We need now to trade in the growth areas - and many of those speak Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. Those are the languages that we need to learn to continue to trade successfully."

On the subject of Eastern European languages, he observed: "We now have many Lithuanians and Polish here, and we can develop those languages.

"We also need to use programmes like Erasmus - we want to increase our participation there by 50%. Clearly it has to become more immersed in the language.

"At the moment if you look at Leaving Cert and Junior Cert, French dominates. French is a lovely language, but we need to recognise that we need to diversify into other languages."

Read more...

Education Scotland Modern Languages newsletter - April 2017

18 April 2017 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's Modern Languages newsletter is now available.

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China visit a Scottish first for brass band

14 April 2017 (Guide and Gazette)

Carnoustie High School Brass Band will play in the People’s Republic of China following a concert they performed earlier this year in the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow.

The concert was for the Confucius Institute for Scotland who were so impressed by their standard of playing that they set in motion a plan to have the youngsters visit China in a cultural exchange.

The institute contacted Donald Currie, headteacher at Carnoustie High School, and requested the band make the trip next year.

Carnoustie High is the Confucius Hub for Angus and the Confucius classrooms are hubs based in schools and serving the local community.

The hub concept promotes joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.

Read more...

If Theresa May really wants to make Brexit a success, why is her Government making it so hard to learn a language?

13 April 2017 (The Independent)

I can still remember a conversation I had as a teenager about GCSE subject. I had the choice between doing Spanish or Geography. My late father was unequivocal: do Spanish because you have no idea how many doors another language will open for you. Three decades later I am still thankful for heeding his advice, given just how much of an influence it has had on my career and my personal life.

The Conservative Party political broadcast this week, and its 2017 local election campaign, talk about us becoming a new "Global Britain". But this Government is simultaneously failing to address the problem to achieving that ambition – that so many British people cannot speak a second language.

Boris Johnson enjoyed travelling the world to promote London at any opportunity when he was Mayor. But while Boris speaks very good French, as did Tony Blair, these politicians are hardly representative of the rest of the country. Our inability to speak other languages is an international joke which ranks as embarrassing as our perpetual failure to progress in international football tournaments. Three quarters of adults surveyed by YouGov back in 2013 admitted they were unable to hold a conversation in another major foreign language.

Read more...

Related Links

This is the best way to prepare kids for Brexit (The Independent, 15 April 2017)

Polish ambassador calls for Polish to be taught in Scottish schools

12 April 2017 (Press and Journal)

The Polish ambassador has called for his country’s language to be taught in Scottish schools.

Arkady Rzegocki said he had raised the issue with ministers since taking up his post last year.

He also told the Press and Journal that schools in Poland have “much more knowledge” about Britain and Scotland than their counterparts here.

Mr Rzegocki, who visited Scotland two weeks ago, said: “From my perspective it’s a really great opportunity and great chance because we need more information about Poland and about central Europe generally in British schools, in Scottish schools.

“And also the Polish language should be learned as a foreign language.”

He added: “This lack of knowledge is a real barrier from my perspective, a real barrier to better economical cooperation.

“It’s fair to say we have much, much more knowledge about Britain, about Scotland in Polish schools, in Poland, so we have to make it more equal.”

He also said he is trying to encourage more Polish people to visit Scotland and vice versa.

And he highlighted Polish Heritage Day next month, which he described as an opportunity for British and Polish people to learn more about each other’s history and customs.

Read more...

Related Links

Polish language advocates lament lack of classes (The Times, 14 April 2017)

Blantyre primary school children celebrate the language and culture of Spain

12 April 2017 (Daily Record)

St Joseph’s Primary School in Blantyre embraced the Scottish Government’s approach to modern languages learning by celebrating the language and culture of Spain last week.

During a dedicated Spanish week of events aimed at developing learners’ use of the Spanish language pupils learned about the Spanish culture and Spanish-speaking countries worldwide.

Learners participated in a range of stimulating experiences and opportunities which supported them in their journey towards Global Citizenship by enabling them to deepen and extend their knowledge and understanding of Spanish cities, food, music, dance, architecture, sport, famous people, festivals, film and media.

Read more...

Prepare British children for life after Brexit – teach them another language

10 April 2017 (The Conversation)

The formal negotiations to untangle the UK from the intricacies of the European Union are now well underway. And it is clear that looking forward, Britain’s new relationship with the EU will necessitate conducting trade and political communications in a new dynamic – one which is unlikely to be done in the medium of English.

When the UK leaves the EU there will be no member state remaining where English is the lead official language. “Ah”, you say, “what about Ireland, they speak English there”. Yes they do, but in Ireland, Irish Gaelic is considered the first official language.

So to trade with the EU, the UK will need high-level negotiators fluent in German, French and Spanish, which it currently does not have.

Additionally, leaving the EU will result in a restriction of immigrants from across EU member states. The need for visas will drastically reduce the number of workers who can come to the UK to fill jobs British people are either unwilling or unable to do.

And recognising this gap, the Foreign and Common Wealth office and the Ministry of Defence have opened in-house training centres to provide lessons in up to 80 different languages for their staff.

Read more...

Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme

10 April 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Foundation London is looking for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education. You can apply for up to £3,000.

We prioritise projects that fit into one of the three following categories:
  1. Introducing Japanese into the curriculum at a primary or secondary school
  2. Supporting GCSE or A-level Japanese courses
  3. Introducing Japanese extracurricular club or enrichment subject at a primary or secondary school
The next deadline for the 2017-18 programme is 27 April 2017.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to submit your application.

Read more...

Dingwall Academy's pioneering sign language work hailed at Holyrood

2 April 2017 (Ross-shire Journal)

Dingwall Academy’s leadership in promoting British Sign Language (BSL) has been applauded by the Scottish Parliament – after the school was highly praised by Strathpeffer-based MSP, Maree Todd.

She used the recent debate on the consultation on the Draft BSL National Plan to highlight the initiative of Dingwall Academy’s unit. During her speech, she used BSL to welcome former Dingwall Academy pupil, Caitlin Bogan, who was watching the debate from the viewing gallery.

The MSP later said: “We should all be proud of what is being done in the Highlands. Dingwall Academy is one of the few schools to deliver a BSL unit – all students in first year, including my son Gregor this year, take BSL classes as a taster along with other languages, including French, Gaelic and German.

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

31 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website demonstrating languages being used in a wide range of professions.

Our latest addition comes from Jane Robb, PhD student at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. Jane has studied several languages, including French, German and Spanish and says her Spanish language skills enable her to conduct fieldwork and live and work in Guatemala.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Read more...

Call for applications - Trends in Translation

30 March 2017 (ALL)

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the French Embassy in London, the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are looking for the next generation of translators into English.

Higher Education Institutions across the UK are being invited to nominate their most promising undergraduate student(s) to take part in a one-day exclusive Masterclass in Translation to be held at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, on Thursday, 27th April 2017 with the opportunity for two Masterclass students to visit the Frankfurt Book Fair this year.

This call is open to undergraduate students only. Students must have a proficiency in either German or French (Level B1 and higher, according to CEFR). A combination of the two languages is very welcome but not required.

The candidates and the nominators are asked to complete the application form and send it electronically to application@lond.diplo.de by Tuesday 18 April 2017.

For full terms and conditions, visit the Association for Language Learning (ALL) website.

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Japanese for young learners - 6 week teacher course

30 March 2017 (Japanese for Young Learners project)

This course, organised by the Japanese for Young Learners Projects, aims to introduce teachers to Japanese language and culture for use in the classroom. Teachers will be introduced to Japanese language for beginners and to cultural learning activities such as origami and Japanese food.

The course will include developing literacy in Japanese and an introduction to Japanese reading and writing - easier than you think!

The course is being delivered in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the Japan Foundation, UK. It takes place over six weeks, commencing Thursday 20 April.

Visit the website to register for this free professional development opportunity and see the press article below relating to the project's pilot in Liberton Primary School, Edinburgh.

Read more...

Related Links

Edinburgh primary leads way with Japanese lessons pilot (Edinburgh Evening News, 27 March 2017)

Online Spanish Courses for Primary and Secondary School Teachers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and PGDE students

30 March 2017 (Consejería de Educación)

The Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Embassy Education Office in the UK offer Spanish Online Courses for Primary and Secondary School Teachers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and PGDE students through Aula Virtual de Español Global (AVE Global), an interactive platform specifically designed by the Instituto Cervantes for the teaching and learning of Spanish.

The course is suitable for those with or without previous knowledge of Spanish.

The next course commences 10 April 2017 and lasts for 11 weeks.

Visit the Instituto Cervantes website for more information and to enrol.

Read more...

How London's Goethe-Institut is fighting for foreign languages amidst Brexit

29 March 2017 (Deutsche Welle)

What does Brexit mean for language-learning and cultural exchange in the UK? The head of London's Goethe-Institut told DW that the impact is already being felt - but she remains optimistic for the future.

Read more...

ECML online questionnaire "Language in subjects"

27 March 2017 (ECML)

This online questionnaire is part of an ECML project called "Developing language awareness in subject classes". It targets subject teachers (mathematics, history, science, physical education etc.) and teacher trainers who:
  • are experienced in teaching students at the age of 12/13 with a different language background, and/or
  • take an interest in developing their students’ academic, subject specific language.
It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Visit the ECML website to access the questionnaire.

Read more...

French at the Alliance Française in Glasgow

27 March 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française has a number of upcoming opportunities for French language learners in Glasgow. Follow the relevant link below for more information:
  • Spring Break Revision Classes April 2017 (3-7 April) - preparation courses for pupils sitting Nat 5, Higher and Advanced Higher French this year and University students due to sit exams later this year.
  • Easter workshop for primary school pupils (3-7 April) - children will learn about French language and culture through fun Easter-themed activities.
  • Term D adult courses now enrolling - classes available at all levels from Beginner to Advanced, along with specialised courses such as Conversation, Current Affairs, Grammar and Phonetics. New term commences 18 April 2017.
  • New adult classes - Beginners, Lunchtime Conversation Class, Phonetics Class, Grammar Class commencing from 18 April 2017.

For further information about the Alliance Française and their full range of activities, visit their website.

Read more...

Edinburgh primary leads way with Japanese lessons pilot

27 March 2017 (Edinburgh Evening News)

They already love manga, Pokemon and Nintendo and now schoolchildren in the Capital have been given the chance to learn about the language behind some of their favourite pastimes.

Liberton Primary School has become a language trailblazer thanks to a new scheme designed to introduce youngsters to Japanese from an early age.

The Japanese for Young Learners project has seen two P5 classes give the language a go, as well as learning about the history and culture of the far eastern country.

While Liberton already teaches a number of other languages – such as French, German, Spanish and Mandarin – it is the first Edinburgh primary school in many years to add Japanese to its offering.

Read more...

Les Resultats ! Le Quiz de la Francophonie

24 March 2017 (Institut français / Canadian High Commission)

The Canadian High Commission in London, who organised the Quiz de la francophonie this year, have just announced the names of the winning schools who are all from Scotland!

Congratulations to:
  1. Sir E. Scott School ( Les Gateaux Gris)
  2. Mid Yell JHS ( Les Petits Crofters)
  3. Westhill Academy ( les Grenouilles 2 E)
Thank you to all participants and well done to the winning schools who will receive their prizes in due course.

Jackie Kay celebrates pupils’ multilingual poetry success

24 March 2017 (SCILT)

The multilingual talents of budding young poets from across Scotland were celebrated at a prestigious award ceremony in Glasgow. Jackie Kay, Scotland's Makar, presented the prizes.

Primary and secondary students from Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Stirling and West Lothian used their language skills to create and share poetry for this year’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition. Winners received their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SEC Glasgow on Saturday 11 March 2017 as part of the wider Languages Show Live Scotland event. Their work is published in an anthology.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is an exciting project which celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing and showcases the many languages which are used by children and young people across Scotland, in school and at home. The competition is organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, based at University of Strathclyde. Jackie Kay is the patron of the competition.

One teacher said of the event: “Taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry competition was a very worthwhile endeavour. Pupils really enjoyed creating poems in another language and interesting language based discussions were generated. The emphasis on celebrating all languages from across the globe was a great message to share with pupils and they especially enjoyed mixing their own language with the languages they are learning at school. We will definitely be taking part again next year.”

Whilst one of the pupils summed up their feelings: “I feel happy, proud and special.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, says: “Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a celebration of the many languages that are spoken and learned by children and young people across Scotland. The collection of their poems weaves a rich tapestry of voices that honours cultural diversity and pays testament to the wealth of Scotland’s many languages and cultures. We were delighted to see such a high calibre of entries this year, submitted in 35 different languages. Our congratulations go to the winners and to all who took part in the competition.”

Mother Tongue invites children who do not speak English as a first language to write a poem, rap or song in their mother tongue and share their inspiration. Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school to use that language creatively with an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue. Prizes are awarded in both categories.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue supports the Scottish Government initiative, ‘Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach’ by allowing pupils to apply their language learning in a creative way. The competition provides children who do not have English as their first language an opportunity to celebrate their mother tongue.

The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. One of the key drivers is improved literacy. Through reflecting on poetry in their mother tongue and creating poetry in another tongue, learners are developing their literacy skills.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is supported by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland, creative writer Juliette Lee and the Scottish Poetry Library.

Details of the winners and the anthology are published on the SCILT website.
MTOT 2016-17 winners with Jackie Kay

Read more...

Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks

23 March 2017 (Education Scotland)

The Benchmarks in modern languages provide clarity on the national standards expected from first to fourth curricular level.

They draw together and streamline a wide range of previous assessment guidance (including significant aspects of learning, progression frameworks and annotated exemplars) into one key resource to support teachers’ and other practitioners’ professional judgement of children’s and young people’s progress.

The Benchmarks will also support consistency in teachers’ professional judgements and will help teachers to ensure that young people achieve the pace of progress they need right across the Broad General Education.

The Benchmarks can be accessed on Education Scotland's National Improvement Hub along with Benchmarks exemplification to support practitioners to use the Benchmarks.

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4th Castilla y León Award

24 March 2017 (Consejería de Educación)

Each year the Ministry of Education of the Spanish Embassy in the United Kingdom, with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Junta de Castilla y León, awards the student with the best results in Spanish in the United Kingdom.

The winner will receive a 3-day (2-night) trip to Castilla y León (Spain) for two people, including travel, accommodation, meals and visits.

For more information see the attached leaflet or visit the Consejería de Educación website. Applications should be submitted by 28 April 2017.

Read more...

Summary of SQA Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages

23 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have summarised the Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages and Gàidhlig. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2016 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty.

They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

The summary reports are attached below and can also be found on the Senior Phase, Essentials for Planning page on the SCILT website under the SQA Qualifications tab.

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Mary Glasgow invites language students to get their work published!

23 March 2017 (Mary Glasgow Magazines)

Calling all language teachers! Get your students' French, Spanish, German or English writing published on the Mary Glasgow Magazines website.

One of the most popular features of the website is Student News. We publish articles and videos sent by students from around the world who want to share their stories, interests and culture with peers. Students earn points for their stories and comments for a chance to win a prize.

Visit the website to find out more information and to read some sample stories.

Read more...

Consultation on Erasmus+

20 March 2017 (Erasmus+)

The March 2017 edition of the Erasmus+ newsletter invites organisations and individuals to complete a questionnaire to share experiences and opinions to help shape how the programme might look after 2020.

The newsletter also contains news on upcoming events and activities.

Read more...

New job profile on SCILT's website

17 March 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Lynn Sheppard, Masters Student and travel writer, former English teacher, diplomat and civil servant.

Lynn tells how languages have not only helped in all her diverse job roles, but in developing and maintaining personal and professional relationships around the globe. Language skills have given her a cultural insight into how others think and behave.

Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read more...

Gaelic e-bulletin

17 March 2017 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's March e-bulletin for Gaelic education is now available online.

Read more...

Learning a language should be compulsory in schools, says report

16 March 2017 (BBC News)

(Applies to Northern Ireland) Learning a foreign language should be made compulsory in primary schools here, a new report has said.

In Northern Ireland, learning a second language is not a statutory part of the primary school curriculum.

In England and Scotland, by contrast, primary school pupils are expected to learn a foreign language.

The review of primary languages in Northern Ireland has been carried out by researchers from Stranmillis University College. The authors surveyed language learning at over 100 schools.

They found that Spanish and French were most popular in schools where languages were taught. Some pupils also learned German or Mandarin.

However, not all primary schools taught an additional language.

This led the authors to conclude that there was "a lack of equity in provision for children" across the country.

Read more...

Summary of SQA Course Reports for Higher and AH Modern Languages 2016

16 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages and Gàidhlig. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2016 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty.

They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

The summary reports are attached below and can also be found on the Senior Phase, Essentials for Planning page on the SCILT website under the SQA Qualifications tab.

Read more...

Trilingual music project hits the right notes in schools

15 March 2017 (British Council)

A pilot project called Listening to Language/ Cerdd Iaith, which aims to encourage language learning using music as a resource, is being delivered in ten primary schools across South West Wales. The trilingual music project addresses the decline of language learning in Wales.

Led by BBC National Orchestra of Wales, British Council Wales, ERW (Education through Regional Working) and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, musicians from the orchestra alongside language specialists have been working with teachers in schools across Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion to develop creative approaches to learning Welsh, Spanish and English.

The project, which is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, looks at how musical elements of language such as rhythm, repetition and rhyme can aid learning. The workshops are encouraging pupils to listen to the sounds of languages, to enhance the process of developing and understanding new vocabulary.

Read more...

Should pupils have to learn sign language?

15 March 2017 (BBC News)

"When I meet hearing children who can sign, I feel happy and confident," says Emmanuel, seven.

"I want to teach everyone British sign language - the whole world."

Faiza, 11, says: "If children learnt more sign, it would mean I'd try to play with them more. Communication would be easier.

"If my hearing friends didn't sign, I would feel lonely and sad."

For these deaf children at Blanche Nevile School in north London, helping hearing peers learn British sign language (BSL) is a chance to break down barriers and make new friends.
Their school shares a site with Highgate Primary School, and the schools work in partnership so that deaf and hearing children can learn alongside each other.

While BSL was recognised as a language in its own right 14 years ago, it is not included in the national curriculum in England.

Now, an online petition set up by Wayne Barrow, who grew up with deaf parents, is aiming to change that.

Read more...

Related Links

Should hearing children learn sign language? (BBC News, 15 March 2017) - meet school pupils learning to sign and learning alongside deaf children (video report)

Sign language costs 'too high' for some families
(BBC News, 15 March 2017)

Watch as MP uses British Sign Language in the House of Commons (Daily Mirror, 16 March 2017)

MP Dawn Butler praised for using sign language in Commons (BBC News, 16 March 2017)

Language Show Live Scotland 2017

14 March 2017 (SCILT)

Thank you to everyone who came to see us at Language Show Live Scotland at the SEC last weekend! It was a fabulous event and great to meet so many teachers, pupils and language professionals and to find out how we can help support you all in learning, teaching and promoting languages. If you left an enquiry with us, we’re currently working our way through these and you should have a response within the next week or two, if you haven’t had one already.

We were so proud of our Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry winners who came along to the event and recited their poems for us on Saturday morning. Thank you so much to the teachers who took this initiative forward in school and of course to all the pupils who took part. We will be uploading the winners’ anthology and photos from the event to the website in due course, so keep watching the bulletin for updates on this.

If you didn’t make it along, our PDO Lynne Jones provides a flavour of the show in this video:

Teachers ‘ill-prepared’ for primary language strategy

14 March 2017 (The Herald)

Teachers have warned an ambitious strategy to expand language learning in Scottish primary schools lacks direction.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union said training for school staff was variable and had led to lower confidence levels in some areas.

The criticism centres on the Scottish Government’s flagship 1+2 languages policy under which primary pupils are to be taught at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue, starting in the first year of schooling and adding a second foreign language no later than P5.

The government has argued primaries should incorporate as large a pool of languages as possible, including Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Polish.

However, critics say schools and teacher training universities need a much smaller group of languages to focus on to ensure continuity of study and expertise among staff.

In a letter to councils, Andrea Bradley, EIS assistant secretary for education, said information from primary teachers had identified training that was not of a consistently appropriate standard.

She said members had highlighted a “lack of direction” as to which languages would be taught at which stage as well as “variable quality of teachers’ experience of training course delivery”.

She also said there was “inconsistency” in the duration of training courses and therefore inconsistency in “outcomes for our members in terms of their levels of confidence to teach foreign languages”.

She added: “The EIS therefore calls upon all local authorities to work with Scottish Government to address the issues that are raised here, with a view to ensuring coherence of approach and adequate resourcing in order that the worthy aims of the policy can be met.”

The concerns were echoed by Gillian Campbell-Thow, chairwoman of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching.

Read more...

Related Links

SALT's response to EIS (SALT, 15 March 2017)

The Junior Language Challenge 2017

14 March 2017 (Junior Language Challenge)

Calling all Scottish primary schools! The Junior Language Challenge is the UK’s only language challenge for primary schools, introducing children to new, exciting languages and encouraging them to become independent learners, while raising money for charity. The first language this year is French.

There are great prizes to be won, including a family holiday to Africa!

Visit the JLC website to find out more and to register a school or an individual. (Please note there is an entry charge per child with all proceeds going to the educational charity, onebillion).

Read more...

Chinese L3 resources

13 March 2017 (CISS)

In order to build capacity for L3 in Scottish schools throughout Scotland, CISS has focused on developing a variety of resources. The latest L3 materials can be used to support the introduction of Mandarin as the L3 by using stimulating cultural contexts, whilst carefully building in progression. They are the first of a series of L3 resources which will support non-specialist Chinese teachers – including complete beginners! – as well as specialist Chinese teachers. The resources favour a gentle progression and will help practitioners embed Chinese into their learning context. These resources can be used as stand-alone resources or in conjunction with The Happy Emperor ebooks 1-5.

Read more...

SALT schools competition 2017

11 March 2017 (SALT)

There are four categories in this years competition: Primary & BGE, National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher.

The theme is I love Languages Because and students can submit their entries in any format (PowerPoint, poster, song, poem, etc).

Visit the SALT website for further information and to submit entries by 26 May 2017.

Read more...

Emotional celebration of Perth Polish Saturday School's 10th year in the Fair City

10 March 2017 (Daily Record)

A school in Perth has been hailed for keeping Polish children and those with connections to the eastern European community in touch with their history and culture.

The Perth Polish Saturday School celebrated its 10th anniversary and a special ‘Jubilee’ reception was held at North Inch Community Campus on March 4.

On Saturdays the school based at St John’s Academy teaches Polish history, geography, culture and language from 10.30am to 1.30pm.

Many children from Polish families have been born in the Fair City and the school provides them with a link to their family’s origins.

They learn nursery rhymes, songs and poems which keep their culture alive, as well as mastering the notoriously difficult Polish spellings and grammar.

Read more...

Cash-strapped schools axing classes and cutting back on trips, headteachers say

10 March 2017 (The Independent)

Schools are being forced to scrap GCSE and A-level courses, increase class sizes and cut back on trips and after-school clubs as a result of a funding crisis, headteachers have warned.

Design and technology, languages and arts are among the subjects being dropped as schools struggle to deal with severe budget pressures, according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

In a new report, based on a poll of more than 1,000 members, the union warned that pressure to cut costs is having an impact on all areas of school life.

Interim general secretary Malcolm Trobe said school leaders are being forced to make “impossible choices”.

The Government has argued that school funding is at its highest ever level.

Read more...

Related Links

Warning over schools axing courses amid funding crisis (ITV News, 10 March 2017) - Of the language course cuts, German in particular is suffering.

New job profile on SCILT's website

10 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have a range of Job Profiles on our website designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from Kirsten Matthews, a Distillery Tour Guide and Public Service Interpreter. Kirsten tells us her language skills make it possible for her to perform a service and to help people in her roles.

You can see Kirsten's profile on our website.

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Pupils celebrate success at multilingual poetry competition

9 March 2017 (Renfrewshire 24)

Six bilingual pupils from Renfrewshire have scooped up awards at a national poetry competition for their creative writing talents.

Of the 14 awards up for grabs through the ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ competition run by SCILT – Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, six were awarded to pupils from St John Ogilvie Primary School, St James Primary School and Castlehead High School, who had written poetry in their native tongue in order to share their “other voices”.

Renfrewshire EAL (English as an additional language) teachers helped support bilingual pupils to create a collection of poems written in languages such as; Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Punjabi, Catalan, Arabic, Greek, Filipino, Korean and Dutch.

Read more...

Mapping Chinese survey

9 March 2017 (SCEN)

At the meeting of Confucius Institute Directors last year, we all decided that it would be a great help if we shared information about the teaching and learning of Mandarin at all levels in Scotland. We want to map all the opportunities to learn Chinese accurately, and to share it with everyone to help with productive links between schools, colleges, universities and businesses.

We would like to invite primary and secondary school teachers to complete our online survey to help gather this data.

Visit the SCEN website for the survey link. Please complete by 31 March 2017.

Read more...

Glasgow says ‘fáilte’ to a new Gaelic primary school

9 March 2017 (The Herald)

Soaring demand for Gaelic education in Scotland’s largest city has led to the need for a third primary school.

Glasgow City Council is recommending a formal consultation on a new school because the two existing primaries are already full with demand expected to grow.

The increasing numbers of primary pupils in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) also means there is a need to ensure enough places are available at secondary.

Read more...

Related Links

Call for third Gaelic school in Glasgow (BBC News, 10 March 2017)

Glasgow needs new Gaelic school amid growing demand (The Scotsman, 10 March 2017)

UK-German Connection initiatives for schools

7 March 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German connection have the following opportunities they'd like teachers and schools to be aware of:
  1. What do you need now? Have your say.
    It’s now more important than ever to maintain connections with Europe. With this in mind, we’re reviewing the opportunities and support we offer schools and are asking teachers for their input on what schools currently need in order to keep links with Germany alive. We’ve put together a short questionnaire for you to have your say and would be grateful for your feedback. Complete the survey.

  2. Plastic Pirates
    There’s now another chance for UK and German partner schools to apply for funding to get together in Germany and undertake research on Germany’s rivers and oceans.

The teaching of Arabic language and cultures in UK schools

7 March 2017 (British Council / Alcantara Communications)

This report was commissioned by the British Council in March 2016 as part of its Arabic Language and Culture programme, which is now in its fourth year. It builds on previous research undertaken by Alcantara Communications and published as The teaching of Arabic Language and Culture in UK Schools. As a result of this initial research, the British Council developed and tailored its programme, continued to build its contacts with stakeholders in the field, and commissioned further in-depth research into key themes identified. These were contracted as separate strands, since they required different types of expertise. This report covers Strand 2 of the research: ‘Review of the teaching of Arabic language and culture in UK schools’.

Read more...

From busuu to Babble, language-learning startups adapt to thrive

7 March 2017 (The Guardian)

Language learning is big business. Each year, students coming to study English in the UK contribute £2bn to the economy. It’s also a market suited to the flexibility of mobile learning and, sure enough, language learning apps are seeking to fill the gaps – more than 350 are listed on the Apple App Store alone.

But language tech isn’t an easy space in which to succeed. Rapid changes in technology have meant that its startups have had to adapt to survive, as Bernhard Niesner, co-founder of busuu, can attest.

Originally from Austria, Niesner had always loved languages: he learned Spanish and travelled in Latin America before undertaking an MBA at the IE Business School in Madrid. There he met Adrian Hilti, originally from Switzerland. It was 2008, Facebook was expanding rapidly, and the two wondered if they could combine technology and learning a language with social media.

So busuu, named after a Cameroonian language, was born, teaching users with interactive courses coupled with a social network of native speakers.

Read more...

Singapore student inspired by the pipes teaches himself Gaelic

6 March 2017 (BBC)

A student from Singapore has taught himself Gaelic after being inspired by learning to play the pipes.

Chi-Yan Lew has now travelled to study a term at Glasgow University and is making good use of his new language.

See the video report on the BBC website.

Read more...

“My language learning hurdles” competition

3 March 2017 (Open University)

Make a short video explaining what you consider your biggest hurdles to language learning and you could win up to £150 in Amazon UK gift vouchers.

We want to hear what you find most difficult about language learning, especially when you start learning a new language. We are looking for well thought-out answers with specific examples of your language learning experience, or maybe good one-liners that showcase some of the difficulties that you have faced in the following areas:
  1. Your motivation for learning a new language
  2. Managing your expectations when starting to learn a new language
  3. Coping with grammar and grammatical terminology
  4. Creating (and sticking to) a learning routine
  5. Practising speaking (as a beginner)
  6. Listening (as a beginner)
  7. Learning vocabulary (as a beginner)
  8. Reading (as a beginner)
  9. Writing (as a beginner)
  10. Finding, evaluating and selecting resources to support learning for beginners
  11. Immersing yourself in the language when not in an area where it is spoken
  12. Getting support from others (including online communities
  13. Keeping your motivation going in the medium to long term
Your video must cover only one of these areas, but you are welcome to submit a video for each of the topics that are relevant to you.

Your video must be no longer than 30 seconds and must be in English.

Visit the Open University website to find out more and how to submit your entry by 17 March 2017.

Read more...

Just 1 Week Until Doors Open on Language Show Scotland 2017!

3 March 2017 (Language Show Live)

Language Show Live, 10-11 March at the SEC, Glasgow.

Europe’s largest event dedicated to language teaching and learning is just 1 week away and new performances are still being announced every day, with salsa classes and an additional Gaelic introduction class added today! Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content. Head online today to claim your free ticket and enjoy all the content that Europe’s premier language event has to offer.

Remember: Alongside our trademark seminar, workshop and panel session line ups we also have our fantastic cultural piazza stage, free language taster classes, over 80 exhibitor and much, much more! Take advantage of our pre-show discount on our Language Plus Classes too. These two hour intensive classes are the only thing at the event that we charge for as we bring in some of the world’s top teachers and charge just £18 for the full two hours. Don’t miss out!

Visit the Language Show Live website today!

Read more...

New Job Profile on the SCILT website

3 March 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

Working on conservation projects around the globe, Sandie explains how knowing even a little of a language is respectable and polite when working with colleagues worldwide.

Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read more...

Visit the French Zone at Language Show Scotland in Glasgow

3 March 2017 (Institut français)

The French Zone is happy to welcome you to Stand 208 at Language Show Live, 10-11 March 2017, and to offer you a variety of French resources from the Institut français and other key actors of French teaching and learning.

Visit the Institut français website for more information.

Read more...

French at the Alliance Française de Glasgow

2 March 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française has a number of upcoming opportunities for French language learners in Glasgow. Follow the relevant link below for more information:

To find out more about the Alliance Française and all their activities, visit their website.

Read more...

Articulate Language Camps 2017

1 March 2017 (Articulate Language Camps)

Articulate Language Camps run an International Camp (12-17 year olds) and Launch Camp (6-11 year olds) each summer in Scotland.

The International camp brings together young people aged 12-17 from across Europe and beyond to share their language and culture and provides the opportunity to learn French, Spanish, German, Italian or English.

The Launch camp gives young campers the chance to experience the same languages in a fun and interactive way, learning through digital media projects and outdoor activities.

Find out more in the Articulate Language Camps videos on YouTube where you will also find links to their online brochure and registration form. Follow the relevant link below for more information about each camp:
You can find out more about Articulate Language Camps by visiting their main website.

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Fairtrade Fortnight

28 February 2017 (SCILT / Traidcraft)

#mfltwitterati it’s Fairtrade Fortnight! Please tweet @scottishcilt and @FairtradeUKEd the lesson ideas and resources that you’re using with your learners as a meaningful context for language learning #Fairtrade.

We’ve already found these from @traidcraft, tell us what you think.
  • Explore the world of cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire with a range of teaching resources for learners of French at 2nd level, 3rd level and in the Senior Phase.
  • Explore a range of resources relating to Apicoop - honey and blueberry producers in Chile. Aimed at 2nd level learners of Spanish materials include a poster, an advert and a game.

Read more...

Younger is not always better when it comes to learning a second language

27 February 2017 (The Conversation)

It’s often thought that it is better to start learning a second language at a young age. But research shows that this is not necessarily true. In fact, the best age to start learning a second language can vary significantly, depending on how the language is being learned.

The belief that younger children are better language learners is based on the observation that children learn to speak their first language with remarkable skill at a very early age.

Before they can add two small numbers or tie their own shoelaces, most children develop a fluency in their first language that is the envy of adult language learners.

Read more...

Vive la francophonie 2017

27 February 2017 (Institut français)

Each year the embassies of the francophone countries organise a UK-wide quiz for S2 and S3 students entitled Vive la francophonie. This year's competition will take place on 13 March.

It is simple for schools to take part:
  1. Enrol your team
  2. The quiz will be online on 13 March any time from 10am to 2pm. It should take maximum an hour to answer the questions.
The top 3 teams with the most answers right, in the shortest time, wins!

Visit the website to find out more about the competition and to register your students by 8 March.

Read more...

Language Show Live Scotland 2017

24 February 2017 (Language Show Live)

There's still time to get your tickets for this year's Language Show Live Scotland event at the SEC, Glasgow!

The event, dedicated to language teaching and learning, is just a fortnight away and all programme details, teaching seminars and language classes are now live online. Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content.

For full programme details and to register, visit the Language Show Live website. Don't miss out!

Read more...

What it's like to study a modern languages degree

23 February 2017 (Times Higher Education)

Are modern language degrees becoming obsolete? Absolutely not, say these four modern languages students.

Read more...

Do we need modern language graduates in a globalised world?

23 February 2017 (THE)

Six academics offer their views on the state of language learning in a populist climate.

Read more...

UK-German Connection latest news

21 February 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of opportunities for schools in the UK and Germany to develop and maintain partnerships. In their latest Spring 2017 newsletter they highlight the following:
  • With the changing landscape of international relations, we want to make sure we're still offering you the right kind of support to keep your connections with Germany alive.We're currently reviewing the opportunities and services we offer and would like to invite you to tell us what you need now for your schools and pupils. Complete the short survey.
  • Deadline reminder of 1 March for applications for the following summer courses in Germany:

For upcoming deadlines for the rest of the school year, download our calendar of opportunities for 2016-17.

For further information about UK-German Connection and their activities, visit their website.

Read more...

Cappuccino with extra Italian? Pop-up classes bring a buzz to adult learning

21 February 2017 (The Guardian)

It’s a rainy February evening in a Costa coffee shop in East Putney, south-west London. The shop is closed to the public but a group of men and women are gathered there, drinking coffee and practising Italian phrases with teacher Alessandro Fantauzzo. Two are here for work reasons, others to build their language confidence for holidays.

In the past, they might have gone to a night class at a local adult education college. But over the past decade, funding for courses that don’t lead to a formal qualification has been slashed. Since 2010, the adult learning budget has been cut by about 40%, meaning the days when adults could learn flower arranging, languages or guitar at their local college in the evenings – for a subsidised fee or even free – are long gone.

It was this that gave former teacher and social entrepreneur Jason Elsom the idea of offering night classes in coffee shops. Approached by the coffee chain Costa to help develop its charitable foundation, which aims to extend education opportunities, he suggested it offer space in its shops for tutors and their students.

Read more...

Brian Wilson: Crunch time now for BBC Alba, a Scottish success story

20 February 2017 (The Scotsman)

The Gaelic TV channel reaches far beyond those who speak the language, and can get even better if it is given proper support says Brian Wilson.

Issues surrounding the BBC Charter and its implications for broadcasting are likely to gain a high profile in the coming weeks. It would be a pity if, in the political melee, a quiet Scottish success story was overlooked – BBC Alba.

Although its raison d’etre is as a Gaelic broadcaster, BBC Alba reaches 700,000 viewers each week. It accounts for half the commissions in Scotland from independent production companies. It offers a steady stream of quality programmes which would not otherwise be made, mainly on Scottish subjects.

By any standard of media accounting, BBC Alba has achieved all this on a shoestring budget. It broadcasts for seven hours daily but only 1.9 are filled with original content, including news and live sport. The rest consists of repeats, delving deep not only into BBC Alba’s own modest archive but the entire previous output of Gaelic television.

Some of these, it must be said, are very good. The BBC Gaelic department has a history of producing current affairs programmes in particular where quality was in inverse proportion to quantity. However, there are limits to how often viewers in any language should be asked to endure fascinating throw-backs to the 1970s and 1980s.

The current funding review is a crunch point for BBC Alba. It will either survive at its present level or extend its repertoire and role. There is a particular need, from a language perspective, for more children’s programmes and also a more consistent standard of popular entertainment. The channel’s supporters are sensibly realistic in their demands, which may give them a better chance of being listened to.

Read more...

Related Links

BBC Launching Scotland Channel With $37.4M Budget (Deadline, 22 February 2017)

Language Rights Need to be at the Center of Global Policy

20 February 2017 (Diplomatic Courier)

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost.

More than 50 percent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96 percent of these languages are spoken by a mere 4 percent of the world’s population. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given pride of place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.

Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, the promotion of education for all and the development of knowledge societies are central to UNESCO’s work. But they are not possible without broad and international commitment to promoting multilingualism and linguistic diversity, including the preservation of endangered languages.

While the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has signed an agreement with the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to measure global citizenship and sustainable development education, the persistent marginalization of mother languages worldwide is threatening Goal 4 of the UN for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Agenda 2030 includes seven targets in Goal 4 that aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

The seventh target – Goal 4.7 – obliges the international community to ensure that in the next 15 years “all learners (would) acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”.

UNESCO relates global citizenship to the empowerment of learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world.

But the chances that Goal 4.7 would be achieved are rather bleak unless adequate steps are taken urgently. The reason can be deduced from some important data released by the UNESCO on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, celebrated annually on February 21.

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Learn French at the Institut français d'Ecosse

17 February 2017 (Institut français d'Ecosse)

The Institut français offers classes and workshops for all ages (toddlers to adults), from complete beginners to fluent speakers.

Enrolment is open for Spring term classes beginning in April.

Students undertaking National 5, Highers and Advanced Highers can also register for a preparation course running 3-7 April.

Visit the website for full details and to enrol.

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The Junior Language Challenge 2017

17 February 2017 (Junior Language Challenge)

The Junior Language Challenge is the UK’s only language challenge for primary schools, inspiring a love of languages at a young age and encouraging children to become independent learners, while raising money for charity.

The JLC 2017 will open on 10 March, but registration starts now - visit the website sign-up pages to register a school or an individual. (Please note there is an entry charge per child with all proceeds going to the onebillion charity).

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New job profile on SCILT's website

17 February 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Katie Targett-Adams, a professional singer and harpist currently based in Hong Kong. Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

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Midlothian foreign language students settle in

12 February 2017 (Midlothian Advertiser)

Following the success of the French Modern Language Assistant (MLAs) last year, Midlothian has been lucky enough to employ six MLAs again this year.

They are working across all 32 primary schools, assisting with the implementation of the 1+2 initiative which means that French is being taught in all our primary schools from P1 to P7. Staff have already seen an increase in the confidence and language skills of teachers as well as enthusiasm and progress from pupils!

The MLAs completed a diary of their first impressions and experiences, excerpts of which are below.

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Agenda: So much to be gained from young people learning modern languages

12 February 2017 (Sunday Herald)

Does language learning have a place in the Scottish curriculum? Yes. Are modern languages and their teachers under pressure in secondary schools? Yes. Has there been a better opportunity for promoting language learning in our schools ? No.

Language learning has a vital place in Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) on a learner journey from 3-18 but in a manner that does not see it as the preserve of the secondary school.

It has always baffled me that traditionally in Scotland, given its place in Europe, we started language learning so late in a child’s development.

The earlier we expose children to learning languages, the better their chance is of seeing this as something that is just part of their culture.

From a child development point of view, there’s much research to confirm that children are more receptive educationally and emotionally to language learning from an early age.

They soak it up and acquire language skills at a great pace. We know that bilingualism not only helps the cognitive development of the child but also that children who are in bilingual education such as Gaelic Medium Education also attain and achieve at least as well as, in many cases better, than their monoglot peers. They are fluent in two languages and are learning a third by the age of 11. In addition, there is another plus to early exposure to acquiring additional languages; most parents like it, understand it and support schools that promote it.

The Scottish Government-led 1+2 languages programme is a long-term policy commitment started in 2011 due to run until 2021, aimed at making it normal for all children and young people in Scotland to learn languages from primary one.

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Gaelic Translation Competition!

10 February 2017 (Education Scotland)

This translation competition is open to all children and young people in both Gaelic Learner and Gaelic Medium Education.

There are nine English and eight Gaelic posters of Scotland’s scientists available on the National Improvement Hub. One of the Gaelic posters is missing- Alexander Graham Bell.

Children and young people are invited to translate a short biography on Alexander Graham Bell into Gaelic. This is an exciting opportunity to have your work shared nationally and to feature alongside the other eight scientist biographies available on the National Improvement Hub. Your work could support learners of Gaelic across Scotland.

For more information visit the Education Scotland Learning Blog. Entries should be submitted by 3 March 2017.

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New Content Announcement for Language Show Scotland 2017!

10 February 2017 (Language Show Live)

Language Show Live, 10-11 March at the SEC, Glasgow

Europe’s largest event dedicated to language teaching and learning is just 1 month away and the teaching seminar, TEFL forum and language class line ups have all been announced and are now live online! Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content. Head online today to claim your free ticket and enjoy all the content that Europe’s premier language event has to offer.

Remember: Alongside our trademark seminar, workshop and panel session line ups we also have our fantastic cultural piazza stage, free language taster classes, over 80 exhibitor and much, much more!
Language Show Live Scotland logo

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UCML and others send Brexit letter

10 February 2017 (UCML)

This letter has been written by a number of heads of UK modern languages and linguistics subject associations, including UCML, and endorsed by several others. It will be sent to the media and a number of leading UK politicians.

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Statutory guidance on Gaelic Education published

10 February 2017 (TESS)

Statutory guidance on Gaelic education has been published, spelling out the process that will allow parents under law to request a Gaelic unit for their child. Another key document has also been published: the public consultation on the National Gaelic Language Plan 2017–2022 runs until 6 May.

Read the full item in TESS online, 10 February 2017, under the 'A week in primary' section (subscription required).

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MTOT 2016-17 winners announced!

10 February 2017 (SCILT)

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland. We had a wonderful variety of entries and appreciated the creative effort that went into the submissions.

Selecting the finalists for this year's anthology was incredibly difficult for the judges. However, after considerable deliberation, we're pleased to now be able to announce the winners in each category along with highly commended entries which will also feature in the MTOT anthology of poems.

Mother Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Jan Piwowarczyk (Polish)

St Benedict’s Primary

 

Highly commended

Kacper Jodelka (Polish)

St John Ogilvie Primary

P4 – P6

Winner

Laith Kabour (Arabic)

St John Ogilvie Primary

 

Highly commended

Ashley Li (Mandarin)

St James’ Primary

 

Highly commended

Amira Shaaban and Aidah Abubaker (Swahili)

St Rose of Lima Primary

 

Highly commended

Caroline Rotimi and Joolade Adekoya (Yoruba)

St Maria Goretti Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Miriam Espinosa (Catalan)

St James’ Renfrew

 

 

Highly commended

Lemuel Pascual (Filipino)

 

St James’ Renfrew

 

Highly commended

Noemi Dzurjanikova (Slovak)

St Rose of Lima

S2 – S3

Winner

Stefan Benyak (Hungarian)

Castlehead High

 

Highly commended

Éva Tallaron (French)

Royal High

Senior Phase

Winner

Boglarka Balla (Hungarian)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ayesha Mujeb (Urdu)

George Heriot’s

 

Highly commended

Nadya Clarkson (Russian)

George Heriot’s

 

Other Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Julia Gawel (Scots)

Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary

P4 – P6

Winner(s)

Nathan Watson and Aiden Wardrop (French)

Johnshaven Primary

 

 

Highly commended

Jack Shaw (German)

Gartcosh Primary

 

 

Eva Campbell (German)

Gartcosh Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Rosalind Turnbull (French)

Doune Primary

 

Highly commended

Samuel Kassm, Theo Wilson, Emma Cullen and Darren Campbell (French, Spanish, Italian, Urdu, Scots)

Battlefield  Primary

S2 – S3

Winner

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ciara Wilkie (French)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior Phase

Winner

Jordanna Bashir (French)

Shawlands Academy

 

Highly commended

Holly Mincher (Spanish)

St Andrew’s

 

Highly commended

Rachel Cairns (French)

Graeme High

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited in due course to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 11 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

Join the EOL network

9 February 2017 (ECML)

Do you feel passionate about the learning and teaching of languages? Do you believe that your learners will benefits from acquiring language skills? Would you like to improve your school environment in relation to language teaching and learning? Are you interested in working with the ECML (European Centre for Modern Languages) of the Council of Europe?

Then why not join the EOL network? The EOL project team is delighted to work with all stakeholders in education in order to develop learning environments where modern languages flourish. More than 40 schools are already involved in the EOL project.

To find out more about the project and to join, visit the ECML website.

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Boost language attainment with a Modern Language Assistant

8 February 2017 (British Council)

Modern Language Assistants bring authentic language and culture to the classroom. In a recent survey of host schools, Heads of Languages reported improved exam results – raising standards in under-performing students and motivating talented students to achieve more. The support of an Assistant is particularly valuable with the on-going focus on languages in the 1+2 initiative, and can particularly help to complement the development of language teaching in primary schools.

The British Council Language Assistants programme draws on over 100 years of experience with overseas education authorities to provide a trusted, high quality service.

Applications are now open! For more information visit the British Council website.

In 2016 the Erasmus+ UK National Agency awarded nearly €1.2m+ to Scotland’s schools and colleges for Key Action 2 (KA2) Strategic Partnerships, and 70% of Scottish applications for school-only partnerships were successful. The next Erasmus+ funding deadline is 29 March. If you are planning to apply, access our tailored guidance for school-only applications and school education applications; pre-recorded videos; and telephone support sessions.

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Le concours de la francophonie competition winners

8 February 2017 (SALT / Institut français)

Winners of the 2017 Concours de la francophonie, a competition run by the Institut français d'Ecosse for schools in Scotland, have now been announced!

Visit the SALT website for more information about the winners in each category.

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Many Languages, One World - 2017 student essay contest

7 February 2017 (Many Languages One World)

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), in collaboration with ELS Educational Services, Inc., (ELS) invites students, 18 years and older, who are enrolled in a full-time course of study at a college or university, to participate in the Many Languages, One World Essay Contest.

The essay should discuss global citizenship and cultural understanding, and the role that multilingual ability can play in fostering these and must be written in one of the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish).

Visit the Many Languages, One World website for more information about the competition and how to enter. Submission deadline is 16 March 2017.

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New semester German courses

7 February 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow has a range of courses for beginners to advanced learners for the new semester commencing 13 February 2017. Classes in general language courses take place on a once-a-week basis for 16 weeks.

See the programme of courses available and visit the website to enrol.

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Regulations are unintentionally killing the French exchange and our students will be all the poorer for it

6 February 2017 (TES)

Not long ago, schools would send many, many students on exchange trips to France but new red tape makes this unfeasible, writes one leading headteacher.

It’s funny how often laws or regulations collide. Perhaps the most famous absurdity can be found in Joseph Heller’s novel, Catch 22: airmen couldn’t be discharged from the American army in the Second World War unless proven mad. Yet to seek discharge was the only sane thing to do in an insane conflict.

This is, of course, the law of unintended consequences. A great example is this country's shortage of doctors. Many among the refugees arriving in the UK are qualified doctors but, as refugees, they’re forbidden to work.

Another example is a regulation now hitting schools, creating what I’d describe as another unintended consequence – unintended because, if it was spotted, then it’s crazy.

Ever more stringent safeguarding requirements, recently reinforced in the latest version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), make it all but impossible for schoolchildren on a language exchange to stay with host families in, say, France, Germany or Spain.

According to Annexe E of KCSIE, “such arrangements could amount to ‘private fostering’ under the Children Act 1989 or the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, or both”.

Thus, if a school makes an arrangement with, for example, its opposite number in France, so that the English children stay with French families and vice versa, they’re setting up “private fostering”. Because the school is a regulated activity provider, all adults in the host home must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

In the heyday of language exchanges, schools might have sent 50 or more children to France or Germany. Calculate the DBS checks required for the return visit, estimating two adults over 18 in every house (not necessarily parents): 100-plus. I guess they’d be free, being for volunteers, but the cost in office time of that paper-chase is colossal – as well as dragging parents in for their identity checks and the like.

Even if we can navigate that bureaucratic labyrinth, what about the parent who feels that such a check is intrusive or just plain wrong? If they stand on principle and refuse to be checked, they cannot host a child from the exchange school.

This regulation is surely the death knell for such activities as language exchanges. Even with all parents in both schools willing to be checked, sheer administrative workload makes the task impracticable in a busy school.

Read more...

Josh Martin, student of Psychology & German and part-time racing driver

3 February 2017 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from student and part-time racing driver, Josh Martin, who appreciates how languages are key in helping him communicate with fans around the world and in negotiating sponsorship deals.

Read his profile and others on our website now.

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New and inclusive!

3 February 2017 (SCILT)

Content for the ‘Languages for all’ area of our website is now up. The blog has launched. Pointers to professional learning opportunities are there. Links to relevant materials already on SCILT are listed.

We promise even more to come in the months ahead, so check back regularly for updates.

We’re also very interested to hear your comments about your experiences of inclusive practice in languages. To contact the group, please email SCILT or tweet @Lynne_SCILT using the hashtag #langs4all.

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The made-up language with just one speaker

3 February 2017 (BBC)

When it comes to learning languages, it's often thought the Swedes are rather good at it, the Dutch brilliant, and the British, rather poor. Student, Melissa May, who is from southern England, is perhaps the exception that proves the rule. Not content with mastering many languages including German, French and Spanish, she decided to invent a completely new one, with its own unique script. It is called Skénavánns. She told James Menendez about it.

Read more...

eTwinning Workshops

3 February 2017 (British Council eTwinning)

Interested in eTwinning and partnering with schools across Europe on collaborative projects? Check out the professional development opportunities in the UK and overseas for both primary and secondary sectors.

Visit the British Council eTwinning website for more information.

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Summer courses in Germany: Deadline 1 March 2017

1 February 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection has the following summer courses in Germany, which are currently open for applications:
Both programmes combine language learning with cultural trips and excursions, as well as staying with host families.

Not sure about applying? Our mentors are happy to answer your questions. Pupils can contact us to be put in touch.
The application deadline for all programmes is 1 March 2017.

For more information about the courses in Germany and other activities undertaken by UK-German Connection, visit their website.

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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017

1 February 2017 (Japan Foundation)

Taking inspiration from Charlie Chaplin’s famous quote “Life is a desire, not a meaning”, the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017 features an all-encompassing introduction to Japanese cinema through the prism of “desires, hopes and impulses”.

Presenting films by established and up-and-coming directors, animation, documentary and classics, this year’s programme promises to not only entertain but also provide a vivid insight into what drives human action.

Screenings are taking place between 3 February and 29 March in various locations around the UK, including Stirling, Edinburgh, Inverness and Dundee.

Visit the website for full programme details.

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Teacher Volunteers Wanted

1 February 2017 (NUS Scotland)

The Scottish Migrant Institute has been set up as a teaching hub to provide training and education to the asylum seeker, refugee and migrant community. These evening and weekend classes, hosted at the University of Strathclyde, offer a range of subjects to adults who want to learn in their spare time. They are currently recruiting volunteers to teach French and Spanish – this would be an ideal opportunity for ML teachers or students who have some spare time to commit.

For more information please contact Lord Apetsi, NUS Scotland Asylum Seeker & Refugee Officer. An information event will be held at the University of Strathclyde in March/April (date to be confirmed).

Rescuing and reviving the curriculum is not enough to restore modern foreign languages to their rightful position

28 January 2017 (TES)

It's not enough to grandstand the fact that languages have been introduced at primary school and leave it at that, writes this veteran journalist.

I can remember my first German lesson at school only too clearly.

The first two phrases that I was taught were "Mutti bleibt zu hause" and "Vater geht zu arbeit". For the uninitiated, that means "mother stays at home" and "father goes to work". 

Apart from giving a rather forlorn view of the state of society in the early 1960's, it also shows how mind-bogglingly dreary were the German textbooks of the day.

Read more...

New Job Profile on SCILT's website

27 January 2017 (SCILT)

Inspire the future generation with relevant career advice on languages direct from the workplace via the Job Profiles on our website. These resources are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from modern languages teacher, Olivia Ingleby, who tells how language skills helped her discover new places, cultures and the varied opportunities that brought prior to becoming a languages teacher.

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Choice of subjects is ‘not narrowing under CfE’

27 January 2017 (TESS)

Education directors have dismissed fears that pupils’ subject choices are narrowing under Curriculum for Excellence, insisting they have “far greater” choice than in the past.

MSPs have raised concerns that many pupils are only taking six subjects in S4 under new national qualifications, whereas eight would have been typical under the previous system.

Terry Lanagan, executive officer for education directors’ body ADES, said it was a mistake to look at S4 in isolation, since the “senior phase” was built around pupils accruing qualifications over a three-year period.

The former West Dunbartonshire education director also highlighted that schools could take more flexible approaches, such as joining forces to offer certain subjects or bringing in college lecturers to work with pupils. Greater priority was now given to so-called vocational qualifications, he added.

[..] Figures published in December show the numbers of secondary teachers by main subject taught from 2008-16. TESS examined subjects with more than 500 teachers in 2016 and found that French, computing and home economics are under extreme pressure.

The article can be read in full in TESS online, issue 27 January 2017 (subscription required).

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French classes for the new semester

26 January 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow has a number of upcoming courses for the new term. Follow the appropriate link below for more information:

For more information about the Alliance Française visit their website.

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UK-German Connection Funding

26 January 2017 (UK-German Connection)

A reminder that the next deadline for grants for UK-German activities is 31 January 2017.

For an 'at a glance' overview of our grants and details about each programme, please visit the UK-German Connection website.

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Refugee Exhibition

26 January 2017 (University of Edinburgh)

Let your senior phase students see a meaningful context in which German is spoken and meet the students who ran the integration project working with refugees in Germany.

The principal aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness, hopefully inspire similar projects and increase learner motivation for those who often don´t see the relevance of learning a language.

The photo exhibition will be open from March until the end of May. Interested schools can arrange to either:
  1. come and see the exhibition at the University of Edinburgh and meet some of the students involved
  2. see the exhibition and have some workshops about the refugee crisis
  3. request photos of the exhibition, the power point presentation and the film clip for those who are too remote to come to Edinburgh

Please email Annette Gotzkes in the first instance to discuss your preferred option.

Further information about the project can also be found on the University of Edinburgh website.

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Language Show Scotland – Free event + 20% discount on language classes!

24 January 2017 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s biggest and most prestigious event dedicated to all things language is back at the SECC in Glasgow on the 10th – 11th of March 2017. Officially sponsored by Education Scotland and the Scottish Government this free to attend event is a must for anyone interested in learning or advancing their languages, exploring job opportunities in the language industry, considering teaching or working abroad, enjoying a fantastic range of international cultural performances and much, much more!

10TH MARCH – 9:00AM – 6:00PM GLASGOW SECC
11TH MARCH – 9:00AM – 5:30PM GLASGOW SECC

Sample our extensive free seminar programme, meet over 100 top exhibitors like the European Commission, the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the British Council, meet language professional recruiters, enjoy our fantastic array of cultural performances, free language classes and more.

Find out more and register for free today.

Our trademark intensive 2 hour Language Plus classes are also now available online at a heavily discounted early bird rate (over 20% off the standard price!) of just £18. These optional add-ons can be purchased at the end of the free registration process and are certain to add a productive language experience to your day!

Language Show Live Scotland 2017 logo

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Lanarkshire school is bringing Gaelic language and culture into centre of Scotland

24 January 2017 (Daily Record)

Lanarkshire may not be known as a hotbed of Gaelic but a little school are doing their best to reintroduce the language to the wider community.

Gartcosh Primary have been nominated for the Gaelic Education Award at this year’s Scottish Education Awards.

Rachel Neilly is one of four teachers at the village primary who has done the Gaelic Learning in Primary Schools course and teaches the language to primaries five to seven.

All children from primary two upwards learn German but the upper three classes have Gaelic as a third language.

They also learn about the culture in the Highlands and islands as part of their studies.

Read more...

New STEM job profile on SCILT's website

20 January 2017 (SCILT)

If you're looking for relevant career advice on languages direct from the workplace, read the Job Profiles on our website. These resources are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from John Barry, a former petroleum engineer and manager with Shell, who explains how his language skills helped him to develop his career with the company.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2017

19 January 2017 (Scottish Education Awards)

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education. They recognise the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

There's still time to submit nominations for the Awards, so get your entries in for the Making Languages Come Alive (Primary) and Gaelic Education/Duais Foghlam Gàidhlig.awards before the closing date of 15 February 2017.

Visit the Scottish Education Award website to make your nomination.

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Pass the Panda across Scotland

19 January 2017 (RZSS)

Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is excited to announce the official launch of its brand new ‘Panda Pass It On’ game for schools. The game, which is part of the conservation organisation’s Beyond the Panda education programme, launched at four schools in all four corners of Scotland on Tuesday 17 January: St. Patrick’s, South Ayrshire; Lasswade High, Midlothian, Portree Primary, Isle of Skye and Forehill Primary, Aberdeen.

With only four copies of the game available, the intention is for schools to keep the fun, learning resource for a week before passing it on to other schools. The panda games will hopefully make their way across Scotland, with each school logging their location through a QR code on the back of the game, which will allow RZSS to follow the games as they travel.

Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “I’m incredibly excited about the launch of the Panda Pass It On game. It is the first of its kind and is a fun way for children to learn more about China, its history, culture and language as well as their famous animals, the giant pandas. It will be really interesting to track the games as they travel to different schools.”

The game forms an introduction to the Beyond the Panda education programme, which is designed to promote cross-curricular learning, with pupils investigating and discovering more about China. The materials cover Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes in science, topical science, social studies, language and literacy. This is delivered through an outreach programme with fun, interactive games led by an education officer from RZSS, or in the case of the Panda Pass It On game, by itself.

The programme is sponsored by the Confucius Institute for Scotland at the University of Edinburgh with support from the Scotland China Education Network and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools at the University of Strathclyde.

For more information, please visit the RZSS Beyond the Panda website.

picture of children playing gamepicture of children playing

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Glasgow Film Festival 2017

18 January 2017 (Glasgow Film)

The programme for Glasgow Film Festival 2017 has just been announced!

More than 310 separate events and screenings of films from 38 countries will show across the city from 15 – 26 February in one of the UK’s biggest film festivals. The event offers several special screenings for schools, which this year includes the following foreign language options:

  • Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods (PG) - 6-8 February (French, English subtitles)
  • Ma Revolution (N/C 15+) - 3-8 February (French, English subtitles)
  • The Olive Tree (N/C 15+) - 7 February (Spanish/German with English subtitles)
  • Shorts for Wee Ones (N/C 3+) - 9 February (English, French or dialogue free)
  • The Golden Dream (N/C 12+) - 9 February (Spanish & Tzotzil with English subtitles)
  • Zip Zap & The Captain's Island (N/C 8+) - 9 February (Spanish)

There are also CPD opportunities for teachers and workshops for pupils. Visit the 'What's on for Schools' page of the GFT website for full details and to book.

Tickets go on sale to Glasgow Film Festival Members at noon on Thursday 19 January and on general sale at 10am on Monday 23 January.

Visit the GFT website for more information.

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Britons 'should learn Polish, Punjabi and Urdu to boost social cohesion'

18 January 2017 (The Guardian)

The government is being urged to create more opportunities for British people to learn languages such as Polish, Urdu and Punjabi as a means of improving social cohesion in local communities.

Recent inquiries looking into obstacles to social integration in the UK have highlighted the importance of immigrants learning English to enable them to integrate and engage fully in society.

Now Cambridge professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett is calling for British people to be encouraged to learn community languages, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of residents who speak these languages, to build on social cohesion.

Ayres-Bennett, who is a professor of French philology and linguistics and is a lead investigator in a major project looking at multilingualism, said rather than putting the onus solely on newcomers, social integration should be seen as a two-way street.

“Considering the issue from the point of view of language learning, we rightly expect immigrants to learn English but, as a nation, we often don’t see the need ourselves to learn another language, and consider it to be something difficult and only for the intellectual elite.

“I would like to see more opportunities for British people to learn some of the community languages of the UK, such as Polish, Punjabi and Urdu, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of those speakers, so that there is some mutual effort in understanding the others’ language and culture.”

Read more...

Babies remember their birth language - scientists

18 January 2017 (BBC News)

Babies build knowledge about the language they hear even in the first few months of life, research shows.

If you move countries and forget your birth language, you retain this hidden ability, according to a study.

Dutch-speaking adults adopted from South Korea exceeded expectations at Korean pronunciation when retrained after losing their birth language.

Scientists say parents should talk to babies as much as possible in early life.

Dr Jiyoun Choi of Hanyang University in Seoul led the research.

The study is the first to show that the early experience of adopted children in their birth language gives them an advantage decades later even if they think it is forgotten, she said.

''This finding indicates that useful language knowledge is laid down in [the] very early months of life, which can be retained without further input of the language and revealed via re-learning,'' she told BBC News.

Read more...

Related Links

Adoptees advantaged by birth language memory (Science Daily, 18 January 2017)

Why making languages non-compulsory at GCSE is a step backwards

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

I am nervous as I take my seat in front of the Head of Languages; it is GCSE choices evening and the school gym has been transformed, criss-crossed by rows of tables and chairs with eager parents and their offspring gathered around harried-looking teachers.

“I'd like to do Triple Language,” I say, “French, Spanish and Italian.”

She regards me over the top of her sheet full of names, in front of her.

“Oh no, I don't think so. You could do Spanish, maybe, but you'll find three too difficult.”

Seven years later and I am on the brink of successfully completing my undergraduate degree in, you guessed it, languages. And whilst I look back on that exchange now with a certain degree of victorious pride, I still can't help but wonder what prompted her to turn a perfectly capable student away from her course.

In this performance-obsessed climate where a pupil's grades are often put before their education, it is unsurprising that even some of the best teachers find themselves advising students against courses which are deemed too challenging. But we must do away with the notion that languages are an elite subject if we are to improve the dire situation in which we now find ourselves.

Read more...

United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad 2017

17 January 2017 (UKLO)

UKLO is a competition for students who are still at school (or equivalent college) – any age, any ability level – in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. Thanks to our generous academic supporters, it’s completely free to both competitors and schools.

The UK Olympiad also enters at least one team in the International Linguistics Olympiad.

The United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) for 2017 will soon get underway with round 1 taking place from 6-10 February.

If you are interested in finding out more about the competition and registering your school to take part, visit the UKLO website.

Read more...

Language exchange trips ‘killed’ off by safeguarding worries and costs

16 January 2017 (Schools Week)

Schools trying to organise language exchange trips face increasing hurdles including costs, visas and “unclear” government guidance on safeguarding, according to speakers at a Westminster education forum held today in London.

The “dull” content of modern foreign languages lessons, which one delegate said was “intellectually insulting” to pupils, was being made worse by a decline in exchange trips that would otherwise bring vocabulary to life.

Mike Buchanan, chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference for independent schools (HMC), told teachers and policy makers that “the bureaucracy and hurdles in the way of exchange visits is killing them”.

Buchanan, who is also headteacher of Ashford school in Kent, said the desire among teachers to organise trips “had not diminished” but guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) – Keeping Children Safe in Education – updated in September last year was “less clear” on the issue of foreign exchange trips than previously and placed an onus on schools to carry out vetting and barring checks on host families in England.

“The impact is that schools are less inclined to engage in exchanges and trips.”

Read more...

CISS professional learning menu update

16 January 2017 (CISS)

The CISS CLPL menu for 2016-17 'Making Chinese work for you!' has been updated.

Visit the CISS website to view the brochure and for information on booking a professional learning session.

Read more...

Japan days for schools

16 January 2017 (RZSS)

Come along to our Japan days at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, held in partnership with the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies youth StampIT programme.

Experience a day at the park to visit the Japanese macaques along with an educational session using games and activities to learn about Japanese language and culture. Suitable for P6/7 and S1 levels. Entrance to the park is free for these special pilot events but places are limited and booking is essential.

Places available on Wednesday 8 March or Wednesday 15 March 2017. First come, first served. Contact Sandie Robb srobb@rzss.org.uk for further details and booking information.

UCML January Plenary 2017: Post-Brexit Implications for HE Languages

13 January 2017 (UCML)

Presentations of most of the speakers at the Workshop held on 6 January 2017 are now available to view on the UCML website.

Read more...

New Job Profile on the SCILT website

13 January 2017 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles provide relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace.

Teachers, use them in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read our new Job Profile from Dawn Hartley, Head of Creative Learning at Scottish Dance Theatre.

Read more...

Regional Cross-Sector Hub Meetings, Round 2

13 January 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

UCMLS (University Council for Modern Languages Scotland) is again holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings during January and February.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with university colleagues to discuss current and future collaborative events in support of the Scottish Government's 1+2 language policy. Comments will feed into the UCMLS cross -sector action plan in support of 1+2, due to be launched on Friday 10 March 2017 at Glasgow City Chambers.

  • Central Hub: Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-11.30, University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Room 2G13 (Registrations for the Central Hub meeting have now closed but if you wish to attend please send an email to m.m.g.sporing@dundee.ac.uk)
  • North Hub: Wednesday 1 February 2017, 4-5.30 pm, University of Aberdeen, Sir Duncan Rice Library, Top Floor, Room 1. Please register by 25 January
  • West Hub: Thursday, 2 February 2017, 5-6.30 pm, City of Glasgow College, Cathedral Street, Glasgow. Meet in Cafe Zero. Please register by 27 January
  • East Hub: Friday, 24 February 2017, 2-4 pm, Open University, 10 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh. Room tbc. Registration will open once room details have been confirmed so please look out for the update!

Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

11 January 2017 (SRF)

The latest news and events from the SRF can be found in their January news bulletin. You can practise your Russian language at the next Чай н Чат (Chai n Chat) in Edinburgh on 2 February.

Read more...

New term German classes in Glasgow

11 January 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow offers a range of courses for beginners through to advanced learners and is now enrolling for the new term classes, running from 13 February to 26 June 2017.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to enrol by 3 February.

Read more...

Gaelic writing competition

9 January 2017 (Acair Books)

Acair Books, an Lanntair and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have created a new award to encourage original writing in Gaelic for children.

The aim of the award is to:

  • Actively support original writing in Gaelic for children
  • Encourage and nurture new writers in Gaelic

In 2017, the award is for a book for 5 to 8 year-olds and must be between 1000 and 2000 words.

The work must be written in Gaelic by a writer aged 16-years or over, and who has never had a Gaelic book published for children before.

Visit the website for further information and submit your entry by 31 January 2017.

Read more...

SQA updates January 2017

9 January 2017 (SQA)

The SQA has updated the Course Assessment Specification document and several Specimen Question Papers on the Advanced Higher Modern Languages page of their website.

Read more...

New term French classes in Glasgow

9 January 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow has a number of upcoming courses for the new term. Follow the appropriate link below for more information:

For more information about the Alliance Française visit their website.

Read more...

Erasmus+ application support

9 January 2017 (Erasmus+)

The next Erasmus+ funding deadline for Key Action 1 School Staff Mobility is 2 February. For UK schools and colleges, the UK National Agency has guidance documentation, and videos on an introduction to Schools Key Action 1 and completing the eForm.

There is also a Q&A webinar at 4-5pm on 19 January.

Read more...

How to learn a language this year: ‘Will a virtual teacher work for me?'

7 January 2017 (The Guardian)

Italian, for me, has always been the one that got away. At school, French and Latin came easily, but for some reason I chose German as my third language. After getting into university to study French and Italian, I decided I’d rather lie around reading novels for three years and switched to English. In my 20s, I signed up for an evening class, but it was full and I was bumped into Spanish. Though it’s far more useful – the second-most widely spoken language in the world – Spanish just wasn’t the same.

Read more...

Nihongo Cup - Japanese speech contest for UK secondary schools

6 January 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students in the UK is open for applications!

This contest is open to students in the UK studying Japanese language.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to download the application pack.

Closing date for entries: 24 March 2017.

Read more...

Oxford German Olympiad 2017

6 January 2017 (Oxford University)

The Oxford German Olympiad 2017 is open to UK pupils aged from 9 to 18 with a range of different tasks to suit different age groups. There is also an open competition for groups or classes of 4+ participants.

This year's theme is Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland - German(s) beyond Germany.

Visit the Oxford German Olympiad website for more information and to enter by 17 March 2017.

Read more...

Oxford University Spanish Flash Fiction Competition

6 January 2017 (ALL)

A new competition from the Modern Languages Department at Oxford University invites secondary students to write a story in Spanish of not more than 100 words, and send it to schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk by noon on Friday 31 March 2017 with your name, age and year group, and the name and address of your school.

The judges will be looking for creativity and imagination as well as good Spanish!

Read more...

How to save MFL? Paint a brighter global future…

6 January 2017 (TES)

As students flee modern foreign languages in droves, Alistair McConville says that we should stop talking about the earning potential of subjects and instead appeal to pupils’ youthful sense of social empathy – especially at a time of political upheaval around the world.

The full article can be accessed on TES online, 6 January 2017 (subscription required).

Read more...

European Language Gazette issue 35 (December 2016)

6 January 2017 (ECML)

The latest edition of the European Language Gazette has just been published. This provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources), its partners and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe. It focuses on language education and national developments in the member states and beyond.

Read more...

The Languages Challenge

6 January 2017 (ALL / SOAS)

Run by SOAS, University of London, the Languages Challenge is now in its third year.

The Languages Challenge is a collaborative project aimed at students in year 8, 9 & 10 (S2-S4). Students have a choice of task and a choice of which languages they use in each of them. The aim of the challenge is to:

  • provide students with opportunities to actively engage with languages
  • encourage independent study and a range of soft skills like team-work, planning, leadership and negotiation skills
  • raise awareness of the cross-curricular opportunities in language studies

Students are encouraged to use oral as well as written skills, to plan each task, conduct research and produce multiple drafts. They must take different roles and complete a short reflective report for each task.

Attached is a Teacher Information Pack, which is also available to download on the ALL website along with further information about how to take part.

Read more...

Give your curriculum an international edge

6 January 2017 (British Council)

Spark enthusiasm for international learning by getting your school community on board with the International School Award.

Managed by the British Council, the International School Award is a supportive and motivational framework that guides schools through their international work. With three certified levels, and free in the UK, the award will take you from introducing international work to the curriculum, to embedding it within your school’s culture.

Following an accessible methodology you will forge links with partner schools around the world, enhance your curriculum and prepare your students for life as global citizens.

Visit the British Council Schools Online website to find out more about how your school can grow and develop with the International School Award and read the article below from the British Council Voices blog which offers advice on 'Six ways to make your school more international.'

Read more...

Related Links

Six ways to make your school more international (British Council Voices blog, 14 November 2016)

Mathématiques sans frontières

6 January 2017 (North Lanarkshire Council)

North Lanarkshire Council and Heriot Watt University are once again jointly organising the world-wide Maths and Language competition “Mathématiques sans Frontières” in Scotland.

Schools are invited to participate in this stimulating and light-hearted competition for S4 and S5 which combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils.

The competition itself will be held on Tuesday 7 March 2017 and schools wishing to participate should complete the proforma attached and return by 27 January 2017. There is also a training test available for download.

See the attachments for more information and to register your school.

LFEE Europe immersion courses in France and Spain 2017-18

6 January 2017 (LFEE)

LFEE Europe has been an international course provider since 2002. Our team of experienced and fully qualified native teachers are committed to promoting French and Spanish language and culture throughout Europe. Funding for all our courses is available through the European Union Erasmus+ Programme.

For more information see the attached flyer or visit the LFEE website.

Read more...

Parents think Mandarin is most useful language for children, survey says

5 January 2017 (BT)

Mandarin Chinese is the most useful non-European language for children to learn, UK parents believe.

It will boost their child's career prospects, according to 51%of parents, while 56% felt it would open their children's minds to an "exciting and dynamic" culture.

Arabic and Japanese, which both picked by 14% of parents, were the other key non-European languages.

The figures were gained after 1,138 UK adults with children aged under 18 were questioned in a Populus survey commissioned by the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP).

French, Spanish and German were the top choices overall for young people in the UK to learn after being picked by 57%, 54% and 40% of parents respectively.

Read more...

English Language Assistants Programme

4 January 2017 (British Council)

Students and graduates - work across the world as an English Language Assistant. There is no better way to explore and experience life in another country than by living in it.

The English Language Assistants programme provides a unique opportunity for UK students and graduates to experience living abroad and make their CV stand out from the crowd by supporting the teaching of English in an overseas school or university.

Language Assistants can gain a wealth of transferable skills as well as proficiency in a foreign language by becoming immersed in another culture. Placements are paid and teaching time is limited to between 12 and 20 hours a week which puts assistants in a great position to be able to travel, learn and pursue new interests.

Placements are available in fourteen countries worldwide including France, Spain, Germany, Italy, China, Switzerland, Austria, Canada and Latin America.

Visit the British Council website and see where becoming an English Language assistant can take you. Applications for the 2017-18 academic year are now open and will close on 28 February 2017.

Read more...

Meet The Refugees Taking On The UK’s Language Skills Deficit

1 January 2017 (Huffington Post)

What do a dentist, a human rights lawyer and a maths teacher have in common?

Certainly, they’re all qualified professionals. What you might not guess - blog title aside - is that they have all sought, and found, refuge in the UK in the last few years. They fled from Syria, Sudan and North Korea respectively. None of them have (yet) been able to practise their professions here, but that hasn’t stopped them helping the Brits in need of their skills. They all now work for a new tech for good startup, through which they share their native language and culture - online and in person - with people in the UK.

The startup is called Chatterbox. By training and employing refugees ​as language tutors, the venture catalyses refugee integration into the UK labour market whilst tackling the country’s language skills deficit.

Read more...

Related Links

Want to learn Arabic, Korean or Swahili? Refugee language tutors can help (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 16 January 2017)

Local pupils wanting to study Gaelic might not be taken by Glasgow City Council bosses warn

19 December 2016 (Clydebank Post)

Pupils from West Dunbartonshire wanting to study Gaelic may no longer be taken by Glasgow City Council, education bosses have said.

At the education services committee last week, Laura Mason, chief education officer, said Glasgow Gaelic School currently takes their 18 pupils doing their medium language study.

But she said: “We don’t know until we start enrolling in January if parents demand Gaelic education. There is a strong possibility Glasgow City Council will say they’re full.

Read more...

ELEO: Spanish Centres of Resources Digital Library

15 December 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The Consejería de Educación has recently launched a digital library. If you are a teacher of Spanish, you can have an access to a myriad of resources.

Visit the site for more information and register now!

Read more...

Calderglen 1+2 Case Study

15 December 2016 (SCILT)

Calderglen is a six-year non-denominational, comprehensive school in East Kilbride, established after the merger of Hunter and Claremont High Schools. It serves approximately 1,600 pupils and shares a campus with Sanderson High School for young people with additional support needs.

The school uses an innovative and dynamic approach to the curriculum. Read how pupils benefit from creative language learning strategies and for interesting ideas for the implementation of 1+2.

Read more...

SQA Course Reports

15 December 2016 (SQA)

SQA has now published the Modern Languages course reports for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

These contain helpful information on candidate performance in the 2017 examinations as well as providing invaluable advice to centres. Teachers may find the information particularly useful in the run up to prelims.

To access the reports for all Modern Languages visit the SQA website and choose National 5, Higher or Advanced Higher.

The course reports can be found under the tab Verification and Course Reports at the bottom of the page.

SCILT will summarise the key messages and publish them on the website early in the New Year.

Read more...

1+2 languages Development Officers’ conference

15 December 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland, SCILT and UCMLS ran a joint DO conference on Tuesday 29 November with a focus on sharing good practice in implementation strategies for 1+2 languages.

The morning session was given over to a presentation by Professor Angela Scarino, University of South Australia, architect of the Australian languages policy. You can now view Professor Scarino's presentation online.

Read more...

UCMLS - Second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings

15 December 2016 (SCILT / UCMLS)

We are holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings in January/February where we are seeking your views in preparation for the UCMLS action plan in support of the 1+2 language policy (Launch date: 10 March, in Glasgow!).

Dates for Central and North Hub are already decided, those for East and West Hub will be announced in the New Year.

First up, though is the Central Hub meeting, which will be held at the University of Dundee (Dalhousie, Room 2G13) on Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-12 (Registration from 9.30). The North Hub meeting will be at the University of Aberdeen, on Wednesday 1 February (Library, top floor).

Please check for updates on the SCILT website.

Read more...

Generation UK – China Scholarship programme

14 December 2016 (British Council)

Through Generation UK, the British Council have opened up a range of opportunities in China, giving students the chance to experience the country, language and culture while gaining valuable skills for the future.

One student from the University of St Andrews shares her experience of taking part in the Generation UK - China Scholarship programme.

Read Victoria's story and find out more about the opportunities available on the British Council website.

Read more...

Report shows progress in promoting modern foreign languages in Welsh schools

14 December 2016 (Welsh Government)

The number of pupils learning Mandarin has more than doubled according to a new report on a drive to increase the use of modern foreign languages in Welsh schools (Weds 14th Dec).

In October 2015 the Welsh Government published Global Futures, a plan to improve and promote modern foreign languages in Wales and today a new report on the progress made has been published.

It comes as the Education Secretary will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Spanish Government to improve and promote the teaching and learning of the Spanish language in Wales.

The MOU builds on a range of activity being carried out in Wales by the Spanish Embassy Education Office.

Read more...

Language Futures

13 December 2016 (ALL)

Language Futures is an exciting approach for schools interested in developing languages beyond the classroom.

Initially a KS3 approach, Language Futures is now being adopted by primary schools with a range of primary-focused guidance and resources being developed over 2016-17.

Its core purpose is to generate deep engagement with learning and to encourage learners to take responsibility for their learning both within and beyond the classroom. Increasing motivation and engagement are integral to the approach with learners not only choosing the language they wish to learn, but also exercising choice in elements of what and how to learn. A core feature of the approach is the personalised support offered to pupils by mentors who are volunteers from the local community with an in-depth knowledge and fluency in a particular language, recruited to provide good models of the language.

Visit the ALL website for further information on launching Language Futures in your school.

Read more...

European Language Gazette N° 34

13 December 2016 (ECML)

The latest edition of the European Language Gazette has just been published.

The ECML's e-newsletter provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources) and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe, as well as our partners. It focuses on national developments in the field of language education in the member states and beyond.

Read more...

Learning a second language still matters

10 December 2016 (Times Higher Education)

The Brexit vote sent shock waves through the UK’s modern languages community.

Already shaken by the closure of modern languages departments at the universities of Ulster and Northumbria, a continuing downward trend in undergraduate enrolments, and the loss of Higher Education Funding Council for England funding for the Routes Into Languages programme, the vote seemed to many to be symptomatic of a lack of understanding of the value of languages both nationally and internationally.

Part of the problem derives from the widespread misconception that speaking English is enough and that monolingualism is the norm.

Read more...

Which languages should be taught in schools and why?

29 November 2016 (The Guardian)

The Polish prime minister Beata Szydło has called on Theresa May to introduce Polish classes for children in English schools.

It raises interesting questions about what languages we teach in schools and why. Szydło also called for more support for the 831,000 Poles living in Britain. Introducing the language could help communities feel more integrated.

In the past language choices have been for different reasons. In 2010 the government decided to train 1,000 Mandarin teachers to work in secondary schools in England due to China’s increasing influence on the global economy. Those in favour of the move said the next generation would need to understand Chinese culture and use its language.

Which languages do you think children should learn and why? Should an emphasis be put on how useful that language may be in the future? Or should the decision be made based on the needs of the local community?

Which languages have been most or least helpful to you? Which one did you enjoy learning and why? Did you grow up speaking another language at home? How would you have felt if your fellow pupils had studied it in school? Share your views with us.

Read more...

Related Links

The importance of Polish lessons in a post-Brexit world (The Guardian, 29 November 2016)

Media Release: Confucius Classroom launches in Moray

29 November 2016 (All Media Scotland)

A facility dedicated to promoting closer cultural links between school pupils in Moray and their counterparts in China was formally opened today.

The Confucius Classroom is part of a growing network of hubs – currently standing at more than 20 – being set up across Scotland to help promote Chinese language and culture in schools.

The Moray hub is based at Elgin Academy and will be resourced for children and young people from across the area to study all aspects of Chinese life.

It will also serve as a base for two teachers from China who will work closely with a total of 14 local secondary and primary schools during the current session.

The teaching posts are funded by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University where the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools is based.

Opportunities will also exist for teachers from Moray schools to undertake exchange visits to China, while pupils will also be able to take part in language immersion courses in Chinese schools.

Read more...

School Partnership Bursaries

29 November 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Do you have a link with a German school? Have your schools engaged in any joint activities in 2016?

Keeping up connections between the UK and Germany is now more important than ever. To help you to keep your school partnership alive, UK-German Connection is offering schools special partnership bursaries of £1,000.

It's easy to apply. Just complete a short online questionnaire by 7 December 2016.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

Read more...

Quebec student exchange proposal

28 November 2016 (SALT)

Éducation Internationale (EI), a non-profit cooperative in education founded by Québec Local Education authorities (or school boards), would like to develop student exchanges between Québec and the UK, with a particular focus on Scotland and Wales. If you think this might be of interest to your authority, there is more detailed information, including contact details, in the document on the SALT website.

Read more...

SEET update

28 November 2016 (SEET)

Find out the latest about the Our Europe and Euroquiz competitions for Scottish schools in SEET's November 2016 newsletter.

Read more...

Seven Gaelic phrases and sayings for the absolute beginner

25 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

There is nothing like learning a new language to exercise your mind and impress your friends. 

Gaelic may have become a political hot potato but picking up a few key phrases will connect you to a language spoken in Scotland for more than 1,000 years.

Little over one per cent of Scotland’s population now speaks Gaelic with highest rates found in the Western Isles. Numbers of young people learning the minority language are on the rise while the proportion of the older population with a knowledge of Gaelic starts to fall.

Here are seven easy Gaelic phrases and sayings - with phonetic transcription - to try out for size.Some may come in particularly handy over the festive season.

Read more...

Concours de la Francophonie 2017

23 November 2016 (Alliance Française)

L’Institut Français d’Écosse and the Alliance Française de Glasgow, in partnership with SCILT, are delighted to launch the 2nd edition of the Concours de la Francophonie which encourages young French learners and their teachers across Scotland to celebrate French language and the international Journée mondiale de la francophonie taking place in March each year..

To participate, you need to submit a short video (max 5mins) in French such as a dialogue, a song a short drama piece, etc. There are four categories:

  • P1-P4,
  • P5-P7,
  • S1-S3
  • S4-S6.

The four winning teams will be invited to the University of Edinburgh on Friday 17 March 2017 to take part in a special day of workshops in French and the awards ceremony.

For more information and to enter the competition by 14 December visit the Alliance Française or Institut Français website.

Read more...

French grammar and oral courses for university students

23 November 2016 (Alliance Française)

Studying French at university? Brush up on your grammar and oral skills at the AF !

We will be running two new courses for grammar and oral practice specifically designed for students who are currently studying French at university.

The courses will run for 5 weeks during January/February 2017.

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information and to enrol.

Read more...

CPD Workshops for Primary School Teachers in 2017

23 November 2016 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française de Glasgow will be running a programme of CPD workshops in French for Primary school teachers between February and April 2017.

Ten topics will be covered, tailored to the needs of Primary school teachers.

For more information and to enrol, visit the Alliance Française website.

Read more...

French oral revision courses: Higher and Advanced Higher

23 November 2016 (Alliance Française)

As in previous years, the Alliance Française de Glasgow will be running Higher and Advanced Higher Oral Preparation courses for pupils who will be sitting their French oral examinations in 2017.

The sessions will take place during February 2017.

Visit the Alliance Française website for further information and to enrol.

Read more...

News from Scotland-Russia Forum

21 November 2016 (SRF)

The latest news and events from the SRF can be found online in their November bulletin.

If you want to practise your Russian language skills, the next Chai n Chat (Tea and Chat) takes place in Edinburgh on 1 December.

Read more...

Language within

18 November 2016 (What's on Glasgow)

Language classes for adults, kids and teens in the heart of Glasgow.  Choose from English, Italian, Spanish, French and Gaelic.

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Making teaching more conversational could help tackle languages crisis

18 November 2016 (TES)

Foreign language teachers should teach more commonly used words and conversational subject matter to engage pupils in their subjects, a report published today recommends.

The Teaching Schools Council argues that such changes would help more students persist in studying foreign languages, which the research described as being in “crisis” beyond GCSE.

The council's Modern Foreign Languages Pedagogy Review report points out that fewer than half of pupils take a GCSE in a language. It recommends that the "vast majority of young people" should study a modern foreign language up to age 16 and take a GCSE in it.

The report, designed to provide advice for secondary school languages teachers, suggests some language teaching uses vocabulary that is too specialised because it sticks with set themes, such as "free-time activities" and the "environment".

Read more...

Rapping up Mandarin

18 November 2016 (TESS)

If you want to get an insight into what your YouTube-fixated, viral-hungry students are looking at online this year, you won’t go far wrong if you spend some time with a few Asian hip hop artists. Be it the viral thrust and wry wit of Indonesia’s Rich Chigga, the America-breaking ferocity of South Korea’s Keith Ape or China’s hottest new hip hop property, Higher Brothers, this is one of the year’s most dominant, and credible, trending genres.

This rise of Asian hip hop comes at a fortuitous time for London teacher Adam Moorman. While his approach to teaching Mandarin to key stage 5 students at Fortismere School in North London was not inspired by his students’ preoccupation with the new stars of rap, it certainly feeds into it: he’s getting his class to rap in Mandarin themselves.

“It’s much easier than you think,” Moorman says. “Mandarin is a monosyllabic language with a much more limited range of sounds than English. If you discount tones, there are around 400 syllables in Mandarin, compared with more than 8,000 in English. So it’s a lot harder to come up with rhymes in English than in Mandarin.”

Students are asked to create raps as preparation for their speaking exam. Guided on content by the key topics in the qualification (pollution, for example) and on complexity by the exam marking criteria, they write, practise and then perform the raps, which are recorded. Moorman explains that rap is a useful tool to get students talking for a number of reasons. First, he says that Mandarin is an inherently musical language, so it lends itself to the genre. Second, learning a language requires repetition, and keeping that engaging is tough – writing and performing a rap gives students a compelling reason to go over sentences again and again. Third, the nature of rap means that dexterity of vocabulary is rewarded – so there is an incentive to learn more phrases and be innovative with them.

“Many teachers find that, as students move through KS4-5, they become frustrated by the difficulty of constructing longer passages of speech,” Moorman explains. “Some of the fun, freshness and simplicity of language-learning at KS3 disappears.

“This approach tackles that by combining rhythm, rhymes and repetition in an enjoyable and memorable way that shifts the focus from painstaking book-based learning, but achieves the rewards of independent research, drafting and practising.”

The full article can be accessed in TESS online, 18 November 2016 (subscription required).

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The carefully worded welcome

18 November 2016 (TESS)

Imagine being the leader of a local authority and being told that you suddenly need to deal with an influx of 100,000 men, women and children into your city, and that most of them will not be able to speak the local language.

Now imagine you are in charge of education provision in that city and you need to integrate a large number of these children into your education system. What would you do? How would you best meet the needs of these children while continuing to maintain a high standard of education for the children currently in your schools?

This was the challenge facing Berlin City Council last year. In Britain, we looked on as refugees fleeing Syria and other war-ravaged countries arrived in Germany to open arms, yet we never fully gained an insight into how they were integrated into German society.

Last summer, I travelled to Berlin as part of an Erasmus+ scheme to find out. There I met Gudrun Schreier, whose job it is to oversee the integration of thousands of refugee children into the city’s education system.

How Schreier and her team approached their task should be of interest to schools everywhere – it is a task many of us will soon have to undertake, too.

Schreier was guided by the overall approach of the council. The underlying principle it adopted was Sprache als Schlüssel zur Integration (language as the key to integration). In a school setting, this took the form of Willkommensklassen (welcome classes).

Willkommensklassen are special classes within a school, made up purely of nonnative speaking children who initially have little or no knowledge of German. They are situated within mainstream schools, with language acquisition being their principal function.

The goal of the Willkommensklassen is that within six to 12 months, 90 per cent of the children will have obtained a high enough standard of German to be able to transfer to a Regelklasse (mainstream class).

The full article can be accessed in TESS online, 18 November 2016 (subscription required).

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'Now More Than Ever’ - Why The UK Needs To Make More Time For Language Learning In The Run Up To Brexit

17 November 2016 (Huffington Post)

'Language skills matter now more than ever’ - that is the resounding message coming from the British Council’s latest piece of research on language learning in the post-Brexit landscape. But with language uptake low in schools - and the majority of us admitting our own linguistic skills are rusty at best - what can be done to make sure languages get the recognition they deserve as the UK prepares to leave the EU?

Well the good news is that the majority of us recognise the vital role that languages have to play in the current climate. Out of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by Populus in our new poll for International Education Week, 63 per cent saw the ability to speak other languages as being essential if the country is to remain “outward looking”. 61 per cent said they were more vital than ever if the UK is to remain “open for business” in light of the result of the EU referendum.

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Oxford German Olympiad 2017

16 November 2016 (Oxford German Network)

The Oxford German Olympiad 2017 is now open! This year's theme is Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland - German(s) beyond Germany.

The competition is open to UK pupils aged from 9 to 18 with a range of different tasks to suit different age groups. There is also an open competition for groups or classes of 4+ participants.

Visit the Oxford German Olympiad website for more information. Entry deadline is 17 March 2017.

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Grab opportunities in this Century of Asia

16 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s people have, historically, been our greatest asset, making a significant impact both within the UK and abroad. The impact made overseas by Scots has been remarkable given our small population.

The Scottish Government’s own strategy incorporates “the Four Is” s as highest priorities, beginning with “Investing in our people and infrastructure in a sustainable way”. But are we doing enough to unlock the true potential of Scotland and embrace the opportunities that arise, even in a post-Brexit environment?

A critical factor for Scotland will be the ability of its companies and institutions to engage effectively with many new markets. The majority of these sit in Asia and require a special knowledge of practices and customs to ensure success. Since most companies in Scotland are SMEs this means that they need to wake up to the need to create market entry strategies and produce the right products and services to attract both investors and customers or clients.

[..] Learning starts at an early age. The Scotland China Education Network (SCEN) was founded in 2006 by Dr Judith McClure to bring together individuals, national agencies and associations keen to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture in Scottish schools.

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Language skills ‘more vital than ever’

15 November 2016 (British Council)

Language skills are ‘more vital than ever’ if the UK is to remain ‘outward looking’ and ‘open for business’ in the run up to Brexit, new British Council research has revealed.

In a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, the majority saw the ability to speak foreign languages as being essential if the UK is to successfully reach out to other countries (63 per cent) - and guarantee continued trade and investment (61 per cent) – in light of the result of the EU referendum.

Over two thirds of those surveyed (67 per cent) believed that as a country, we currently don’t encourage enough young people in the UK to learn other languages, with a similar number (63 per cent) stating that schools need to make more time than ever before for language learning as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

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News Exclusive: The Arsenal Double Club

14 November 2016 (Arsenal Football Club)

With a total of seven languages in his armoury, Petr Cech is by far the most lingual member of Arsenal’s squad, now that Mikel Arteta, conversant in nine tongues, has left the club. Earlier this year, Steve Eadon, Languages coordinator for the Arsenal Double Club, interviewed Cech about his experience with languages.

“Before I do these interviews, I have a little time with the players off camera,” explains Steve, who has also interviewed Hector Bellerin and Gabriel on the same subject. “I asked Petr how many of these languages he is actually fluent in. He said that he was fluent in all of them. So we tested him and, needless to say, he was telling the truth!”

Cech voluntarily learned Spanish and Portuguese when he arrived at Chelsea due to the proliferation of Spanish and Portuguese speaking players in the Blues’ defence. Cech revealed earlier this year that he uses three different languages to communicate with the Arsenal defence.

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Language assistants risk being lost in translation

11 November 2016 (TESS)

Most schools still do not have access to a modern language assistant, new figures show, amid fears that the scheme will wither away if a key source of funding is stopped.

Native speakers of foreign languages have long come to Scotland to work in schools and help teachers to bring those subjects to life. But as local authorities cut budgets, their numbers fell as low as 72 by 2013-14.

Figures obtained by TESS show that the provisional number of modern language assistants (MLAs) has risen to 146 this year, including 23 in independent schools.

The data from British Council Scotland – which arranges for MLAs to work in the country – show increased numbers in all five languages that are part of the scheme: French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish.

But there is still some way to go to match the 278 MLAs that were working in schools in 2005-06 – the highest number since existing records began in 2003.

The picture also varies markedly around the country: 18 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have no MLAs, while Edinburgh has the most with 25, and even a small council like Angus has as many as 19.

Lucy Young, head of education at British Council Scotland, said that councils often used funding from the Scottish government’s 1+2 languages programme to recruit MLAs at an annual cost of about £10,000 per assistant.

Under the programme – being rolled out in all primary schools – pupils are expected to have knowledge of two languages other than their own by the time they reach secondary.

But this key funding is due to be stopped in 2020 – putting schools’ access to MLAs at risk.

Read the full article on TESS online, 11 November 2016 (subscription required).

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New job profile on the SCILT website

11 November 2016 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed to be used in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work. They provide really relevant careers advice on languages, direct from the workplace, and cover a range of sectors. See our latest addition:
  • Claire Murphy, Translator - a translator at the European Commission, Claire speaks Spanish, German and Italian and is currently learning French. She explains how cultural knowledge is as important as language skills in her role.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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UK-German Connection news

9 November 2016 (UK-German Connection)

The latest funded opportunities from UK-German Connection can be found on their website via the appropriate links below:

For more information about UK-German Connection and their full range of activities, visit their website.

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Make Time for Languages! - International Education Week 2016

8 November 2016 (British Council)

A reminder that this year's International Education Week (IEW), taking place from 14-18 November, has a focus on languages.

Find out how you can get involved by visiting the British Council's IEW website.

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LFEE Europe immersion courses 2017-2018 in France and Spain for primary and secondary teachers

8 November 2016 (LFEE)

The dates for our immersion courses 2017-2018 have just been released. Please visit the LFEE website to find out new dates and further information or see the attached brochure.

Successful applicants receive a grant from the British Council that covers all costs, including flights, accommodation and subsistence, as well as the course fee.

NEW: Immersion follow up

If you have already attended our immersion course in France in the past and wish to attend another course with us, we have created a follow up immersion which will take place in the beautiful city of Avignon in Provence. Please contact us for further information.

Should you wish to participate in our immersion courses in France or Spain from July 2017 to April 2018, please pre-register at immersions@lfee.net and we will send you further information on how to apply to the Erasmus+ European funding for schools.

Do not hesitate to visit our website and blog for more information and to see what your colleagues have said about their course last summer.

A bientôt!

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How human brains do language: One system, two channels

8 November 2016 (Science Daily)

Currently there is a debate as to what role sign language has played in language evolution, and whether the structure of sign language share similarities with spoken language. New research shows that our brain detects some deep similarities between speech and sign language.

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SALT 2016 Schools Poster Competition winners

7 November 2016 (SALT)

After a fantastic response to the 2016 Schools Poster Competition, the winning entries can now be seen on the SALT website.

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Pupils enjoy Gaelic careers day at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

7 November 2016 (Skye Times)

Thirty five Gaelic learners and speakers from Portree and Plockton Secondary Schools attended a Careers Day at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The event was formally opened by Mr John Norman Macleod, Vice Principal/Director of Academic Studies at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye.

The annual event ‘SIUTHAD!’– GO ON!’ is aimed at both Gaelic Learners and Fluent speakers. ‘SIUTHAD!’ showcases a range of Gaelic related careers and encourages young people to continue with their Gaelic studies.

‘SIUTHAD’!’ is a partnership between The Highland Council, Skills Development Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and is organised by the Council’s Gaelic Team, Skills Development Scotland(SDS) and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

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Scottish Gaelic Awards 2016: Full list of nominees who made the shortlist

7 November 2016 (Daily Record)

The finalists have been announced for this year’s Scottish Gaelic Awards with just over a week to go until the big event.

The awards pay tribute to all aspects of Gaelic culture, education and language, highlighting the excellent work done in maintaining its growth and heritage.

The winners will be revealed on Wednesday, November 16 at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.

One of the finalists in the Learner Award is radio show Beag air Bheag, aired weekly on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal.

The programme’s title means “little by little” and it introduces Gaelic learners to the language at an accessible pace.

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First Chinese classroom to open for Moray school pupils

4 November 2016 (Press and Journal)

School pupils in Moray will be transported from the north-east to the Far East with the opening of the region’s first Chinese classroom.

The Confucius base is scheduled to open at Elgin Academy at the end of the month with language and culture lessons for students. Two Chinese-speaking teachers will be based in the classroom, but will take lessons at five other secondary schools and eight primary schools in the region.

The initiative will also open up the opportunity for pupils and staff to take part in courses in the Asian country.

Read more...

Closed borders will lead only to closed minds

4 November 2016 (TESS)

It’s been just over four months since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and we still know very little about how Brexit will affect life in the UK. That is, of course, largely because it will be another few months until the process of the UK’s departure formally starts, and so, really, nothing has actually changed.

That is not to say it won’t, of course.

[..] And as Scotland’s modern language teachers prepare to come together for the Scottish Association of Language Teachers annual conference this week, its chair, Gillian Campbell-Thow, told me that Brexit would “either be a force for great change in the respect that it will give us a massive opportunity to further enhance the need for young people who are culturally aware and can communicate on many levels; or it will be another nail in the coffin to language learning as real life opportunities to work and live in other countries may not be as easy or accessible as they once were.”

Read the full article in TESS online, 4 November 2016 (subscription required).

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Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, supports MTOT

4 November 2016 (SCILT)

We are delighted to have Jackie Kay, the national laureate, as patron for this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland.

Hear Jackie's message supporting the aims and values of the competition in the video on our MTOT webpage.

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European Language Gazette (September/October 2016)

3 November 2016 (ECML)

The European Language Gazette, the ECML's e-newsletter, provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources), the Language Policy Unit and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe, as well as our partners. It focuses on national developments in the field of language education in the member states and beyond.

The latest edition is now available to view online.

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Fokus: Films from Germany 2016/17

3 November 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Returning to Scottish screens from 25 November 2016 to 28 January 2017, is this nation-wide event featuring 12 innovative, inspiring and challenging films by Germany-based directors. We have selected a wide array of topics and cinematic styles that shed light on current debates and discourses in Germany.

The following screenings are specifically for school groups:

For full programme details visit the Goethe-Institut website.

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Lords debate on Brexit impact for HE funding and research

3 November 2016 (They Work For You)

The motion was raised in the House of Lords on 3 November 2016 that the House takes note of the potential impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on funding for universities and scientific research.

During the debate, Baroness Garden of Frognal raised the importance of increasing and improving the UK's ability to communicate with the world in languages other than English following withdrawal from the EU.

The full debate can be accessed online.

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Interactive map reveals the cost of mastering the world’s top 20 languages

3 November 2016 (Daily Mail)

Whether it’s the winter weather or the global political flux that has set your wanderlust in motion, it’s hard to resist the idea of one day living overseas.

Indeed some 323,000 Brits left the UK for foreign climes last year, but if you’re tempted to pack up and book a ticket, it’s worth considering the cost and time it takes to learn a new language, because it's more than you think.

An interactive map of the world's top 20 languages has revealed that Mandarin is the most expensive language to learn, averaging £66,035 to become fluent. Francophiles will be delighted to discover that French is the easiest language to grasp - taking just 550 hours and £14,000 to learn.

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Raising a Trilingual Child

2 November 2016 (Wall Street Journal)

Raising a bilingual child is a goal for many parents. For others, it is just the first step.

Stefano Striuli, an IT executive in Atlanta, speaks to his daughters, Letizia, 10, and Maite (Mah-ee-tay), 7, in his native Italian. The girls speak to their mother, Pilar Guzman, in her native Spanish. The girls switch into English when speaking to each other at home, and they are learning French at school. When the whole family is together, they speak mostly Italian, or English when in public.

There are many reasons for encouraging children to learn a third or fourth language. Parents from two different countries often want to create a home for their children where both native languages are spoken. A bilingual family temporarily living overseas might want to encourage children to become fluent in the local language.

To work, a trilingual household needs rules, and rules must be enforced. Mr. Striuli says if his daughters get confused and use English at home, he ignores them—“but not in a rude way”—until he hears Italian.

“They know that Daddy equals Italian and Mommy equals Spanish,” he says.

The right time to commit to introducing a second or third language to a child is at birth. Parents need to create an environment where children are comfortable speaking, says Annick De Houwer, professor of language acquisition and multilingualism at the Universitat Erfurt in Erfurt, Germany.

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Spanish Immersion Days for secondary students

2 November 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The Consejería de Educación and the Spanish Academy of Language and Translation (SALT) offer Spanish Immersion Days for pupils studying at Higher and Advanced Higher level.

Trained MLAs are ready to visit schools and spend a day with students giving them the opportunity to practise Spanish meaningfully with native speakers through oral communication activities, workshops and games.

Visit the website or see the attached flyer for more information and the procedure to book.

Read more...

Related Files

Japan Foundation Funding Programme 2017

1 November 2016 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Foundation is now accepting applications to several Annual Grant Programmes which support organisations and individuals in the fields of Arts and Culture, Japanese Language Education and Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange.

Visit the website for more information about each programme and how to submit your application.

Read more...

Related Links

Funding for Japanese Language Education Projects held in the UK - the next deadline for applications for funding to introduce and support Japanese in schools is 18 November 2016.

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #5

1 November 2016 (University of Cambridge)

In the fifth of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Dr John Gallagher, historian of early modern Europe, argues that Britain should look to its past to rediscover the importance of language learning.

The article also includes links to the previous entries in the series.

Read more...

Gaelic Easter courses 2017

31 October 2016 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture and is offering short 5-day courses during Easter 2017 on the Isle of Skye.

Visit the college website for more information and to book your place.

Read more...

Why Your Spanish Is Stagnating...And What To Do About It!

31 October 2016 (Huffington Post)

Do you remember your first few weeks learning Spanish?

It was lots of fun, right?

You’d learn some new words, a few useful expressions, and you’d be able to use them in simple conversations right away!

It was an amazing feeling... “At this rate, I’ll speak fluent Spanish in no time!”

Except it didn’t quite work out like that.

Somewhere along the line, your progress slowed...

Learning Spanish stopped being fun, and feelings of frustration started to creep in. You think: “Maybe I’m just not cut out to learn Spanish!”

Well, if you can relate to any of this, there’s something important I want you to know:

It’s completely normal!

Here’s why...

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Business Brunches 2017

28 October 2016 (SCILT)

For the third year in succession SCILT, in partnership with University Council for Modern Languages (UCMLS) will be hosting a series of Business Brunch events across Scotland in January and February 2017. These will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Aimed specifically at S3 - S6 pupils, these events will demonstrate the relevance of language skills in a work context with the intention of encouraging pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education.

Registration is now open for the Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen events. (Edinburgh and Inverness will open soon).

To find out more and to register by 21 November, visit our Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

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International Education Week 2016: Make Time for Languages

26 October 2016 (British Council)

The British Council celebrates International Education Week every year, promoting the benefits of international learning and cultural exchange to a huge community of teachers and school leaders in the UK and all over the world. We believe that international learning, global communication and language learning is more important now than ever. That’s why this year’s IEW theme is ‘Make Time For Languages’.

We’ve got a whole raft of offers, opportunities and resources to help you celebrate International Education Week and make time for languages in your schools and classrooms.

Visit the British Council IEW website to find out how you can get involved from 14-18 November.

Read more...

DAAD writing competition

25 October 2016 (DAAD)

The DAAD and the IMLR, together with the Goethe-Institut and the Swiss and German Embassies in London, are calling all learners and lovers of German to take part in a writing competition! This time, the task is to write a story in German.

Two German-speaking authors, Anja Tuckermann (Berlin) and Ulrike Ulrich (Zurich), have provided beginnings of stories of migration. Now it’s your turn to take one of these beginnings and continue spinning the yarn. You are free to develop your text in any direction you choose: to write a story of flight or refuge, of identities and self-images, of encounters or new beginnings … . Your story can be set in the past, the present or the future - and in any geographical setting you wish. The only rule: it must not be longer than 250 words.

The competition is open to students at secondary schools, Sixth-Formers, undergraduates, postgraduates and anybody else who feels up to the challenge!

Visit the DAAD website to find out more and submit your entry by 6 January 2017.

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Euroquiz 2016-17

24 October 2016 (SEET)

SEET is very pleased to announce that Euroquiz 2016-17 has now officially launched! We run an annual Euroquiz for P6 pupils, promoting education about Europe and encouraging the development of foreign language skills and intercultural competencies amongst young people in Scotland.

If you are interested in finding out more about Euroquiz, visit the SEET website where you can watch our promo video, or contact jane@seet.org.uk. Primary schools will receive information via their local authority including a registration form.

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Digital Days competition for schools

21 October 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut London invites German teachers and their pupils to take part in this competition series requiring language and computer skills alike! The topic this year is Digital D.

Several categories for different levels of language skills are provided. Primary teachers and secondary teachers can choose which competition they think suits their students’ best.

To take part in the competition, visit the website and submit the registration form by 10 November 2016.

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Erasmus+ 2017 deadlines announced

21 October 2016 (Erasmus+)

All the deadlines and information on the types of activities you can apply for are contained in the 2017 Call for Proposals document and the 2017 Programme Guide both of which you can download from the Key Resources page of our website. The Call for Proposals is an overview document containing all the deadlines for 2017, while the Programme Guide contains all the detailed information on how to apply for Erasmus+ funding. You will need to read both documents when planning an application.

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Concours de la francophonie 2017

21 October 2016 (Institut français)

The Institut français d'Écosse is pleased to announce the launch of the second edition of our new Concours de la francophonie to encourage all young French learners and their teachers across Scotland.

The competition is open to primary and secondary pupils and involves producing a short video in French which should be submitted by 14 December 2016.

See the attached flyer for more information about the competition and how to take part. You can also see pictures from the first edition competition on the Institut français website.

Read more...

Related Files

'It's a crying shame': teachers on scrapped A-level subjects

21 October 2016 (The Guardian)

There has been an outcry this week over minority A-levels that are being cut from the curriculum, with news that archeology and history of art will no longer be offered to sixth-form students.

Suzanne O’Farrell, Curriculum and assessment specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders discussed modern languages.

O’Farrell fell in love with languages at school. She studied French and German at A-level, then at degree level and went on to teach modern languages in schools for 28 years. This year her son started his A-levels but there was no longer an option to study either French or German. Now she’s trying to teach him herself.

Read more...

Europe's first ever bilingual Chinese-English school to open in London

19 October 2016 (The Independent)

The first school in Europe to teach all its students in both English and Chinese is to open in London next year.

Founders of Kensington Wade, a dual language independent prep school, say children as young as one will be taught in Chinese, and all those who attend the school will leave fluent.

Provisions for the school’s opening come amid renewed emphasis from the British government on the importance of teaching Chinese as a second language, in order to prepare future generations for the global market.

Read more...

Seniors pass on their Gaelic skills to learners

19 October 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

A series of films to help teach Gaelic to children learning it in primary school outwith Gaelic Medium Education has been launched. 

The films star, and were made by, senior school pupils who have come through Gaelic Medium Education and are now passing on their language skills to youngsters who are just beginning to learn it. 

The films, made with the support of media professionals, form part of the Go! Gaelic programme, a comprehensive online resource developed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig.

Read more...

Plan now to avoid post-Brexit languages crisis, say MPs

17 October 2016 (BBC News)

The government must plan now to avoid a post-Brexit languages crisis, say a cross-party group of MPs and peers.

Trade talks after leaving the EU will need more UK officials with language skills, say the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages. There is already a languages skills shortage but currently the UK can rely on other EU nationals "to plug the gap", say the group.

Ministers say their reforms are already boosting language learning in schools.

Read more...

French Film Festival school screenings

17 October 2016 (Institut français)

This year's French Film Festival takes place from 4 November - 1 December and is the only festival of francophone films in the UK.

There are screenings for primary and secondary school pupils taking place around Scotland during this time.

See the attached flyer for details of the school screenings and contact information for bookings.

Visit the French Film Festival website for the full programme.

Read more...

Related Files

Films for language learning

13 October 2016 (ALL)

The Association for Language Learning (ALL) has a focus on film this fortnight. Visit the website for links to useful film resources and the upcoming film festivals taking place this autumn around the UK. Each festival offers a selection of foreign language film screenings.

  • Discovery Film Festival (22 October - 6 November 2016) - Scotland's international film festival for young audiences.
  • Into Film Festival (9 - 25 November 2016) - a free nationwide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds.
  • French Film Festival (4 November - 1 December 2016) - the only festival of francophone films in the UK.
Visit the ALL website for more information.

Read more...

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #3

13 October 2016 (University of Cambridge)

In the third of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Jocelyn Wyburd, Director of the University’s Language Centre and Chair of the University Council for Modern Languages, argues that Brexit poses an additional threat to language learning in Britain which must be overcome.

Just one of the motivations to vote ‘Leave’ in the UK’s recent EU Referendum was a desire to limit immigration, fuelled by a wide range of issues including strains on jobs and public services, but also by discomfort (verging on fear) about multiculturalism and multilingualism in ‘Anglophone’ Britain.

We heard that Nigel Farage disliked sharing trains with people speaking languages other than English, and shortly before the referendum it was reported that a Muslim woman on a bus had been berated for not speaking English to her son, when she was actually speaking Welsh.

Wales is a proudly bilingual nation which, through its Global Futures strategy is dedicated to promoting language learning and greater cross-cultural understanding. Scotland, meanwhile, has adopted the EU-wide goal of mastery of Mother Tongue plus two languages (where Mother Tongue might be English, Scots or another language). No such goals exist for the UK as a whole or for England, though the Department for Education’s statement of purpose for the teaching of languages in English schools opens with the assertion that “learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures”.

Links to Parts 1 and 2 can also be found on the website.

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My French PE lesson

13 October 2016 (TES)

I have the privilege to work with one of the best PE teachers I know. Her name is Charlotte and we’ve been sharing not only the same office this year, but the same ideas, sometimes, and the same passion for teaching.

[..] But the event I have enjoyed the most was sports week, at the end of the summer term. It was a great chance for me to familiarise myself with one of the new methods in teaching a foreign language: Content and Language Integrated Learning. Shortly- CLIL.

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Our Europe - film competition for schools

12 October 2016 (SEET)

Our Europe 2016-17 is now open for registration!

The film-making competition for S3-S6 pupils is an annual competition run by the Scottish European Educational Trust. Teams of 4 design a storyboard outlining the film they propose to make based on the competition theme. This year the topic is global citizenship, specifically addressing one of the following themes:

  • Travel and Leisure
  • Migration and welcome
  • Trade

As always, films must include the use of at least one language other than English. This year any and all languages will be accepted in entries. All teams have to do is put their ideas into a storyboard and send them to SEET by 8 December 2016.

For more information, visit SEET's Our Europe competition website.

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Final LangOER Conference: “Open Education: promoting diversity for European Languages”

12 October 2016 (ECML)

The conference, held in Brussels on 26-27 September 2016, was an initiative of the European funded network LangOER, and was co-organised with the Educational Repositories Network – EdReNe. The event brought together experts in open education and digital content repositories, educational researchers and policy makers concerned with language education, pedagogical use of ICT, and social integration and inclusion.

Presentations and livestreams from the conference are now available online.

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SCHOLAR support for Advanced Higher modern languages

11 October 2016 (SCHOLAR / Heriot-Watt)

SCHOLAR would like to bring to your attention their support for learners at Advanced Higher French, German and Spanish tackling the Specialist Study and Portfolio. Within the ‘Culture’ area, there is an extensive set of activities taking learners through every aspect of these areas. There is also a record, downloadable as a word document in both French and German, to help learners keep a record in the target language. This has the aim of helping them both prepare for the visit of the external examiner, and collect information to allow them to present their evidence for the Specialist Study Unit in the target language.

Search for Scholar HW, or use the login link.

Log in with your ID and password, which your school has!

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DELF/DALF French exams

10 October 2016 (Alliance Française)

The next session for the DELF/DALF will take place in December 2016.

The DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) and the DALF (Diplôme Approfondi en Langue Française) are official diplomas awarded by the French Ministry of Education to certify foreign candidates’ proficiency in French. They are available at varying levels, including the DELF Junior for children learning the language.

The exams can be taken at:

Follow the relevant link above for more information and to enrol for the exam by Friday 28 October 2016.

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Brexit: Scheme extended to encourage foreign language take up

8 October 2016 (BBC News)

Addressing a serious decline in the number of Welsh pupils learning foreign languages is "urgent" following the Brexit vote, an academic has warned.

There were 700 A-level language entries in 2015 compared with 1,152 in 2009.

A scheme, which sees university students mentoring secondary school pupils, is being extended after making a "clear impact" on class numbers.

Professor Claire Gorrara said the scheme was more important than ever after the Brexit vote.

The Cardiff University professor, who leads the project, said it had led to improvements to the 28 schools involved in the pilot across Wales.

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Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #2

7 October 2016 (University of Cambridge Research)

In the second of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Dr Heather Inwood, Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture, argues that Britain needs to improve its language skills to build trade relations and break through cultural divides.

Read more...

Related Links

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #1 (University of Cambridge Research, 26 September 2016)

Can Duolingo's chatbot teach you a foreign language?

7 October 2016 (The Guardian)

Chatbots suck. We all know it. If you want to get something done with a computer, it turns out, there are better ways to do it than laboriously type out conversational sentences to be read by a programme with a shaky grasp of the language and a gratingly affected sense of humour.

So I’m as surprised as anyone that for the past week, I’ve started every morning with a 10 minute conversation with a chatbot. In French.

The bot is the creation of Pittsburgh-based language-learning startup Duolingo, and it’s the first major change for the company’s app since it launched four years ago. In that time, the service has gained 150 million users, and stuck stubbornly to the top of the educational app charts on every platform it’s available on.

If you haven’t used Duolingo, the premise is simple: five to 20 minutes of interactive training a day is enough to learn a language.

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How a deaf teenager from Congo found her voice in poetry

6 October 2016 (STV News)

For most of her life, it seemed as though Keren Mingole would never have a place to call home.

Forced to escape war-torn country of DR Congo, the 16-year-old has been brought up in Scotland from a very early age. Not only faced with the difficulty of communicating with strangers, Keren also had to learn British Sign Language.

[..] In 2015, an opportunity arose for Keren to explore and draw from her difficult experiences as a child through a multilingual poetry contest.

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition explores cultural identity, and allows pupils from P1-S6 to enter creative pieces of work and celebrate the many different languages used in schools throughout the UK.

Pupils from across Scotland are currently participating in the multi-cultural competition, which is officially endorsed by Nobel Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Scottish Makar Jackie Kay is also the official patron.

Keren won the 2015 Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition with her poem 'Who am I?' - a composition of her journey from her native home to her current home, Scotland.

Read more...

Related Links

National Poetry Day (STV News, 6 October 2016) See Jackie Kay and one of last year's MTOT winners, Keren Mingole, talk about poetry in their lives (the programme is available on iPlayer until 13/09/16 - watch from 28:50).

Inverclyde Academy pupils’ modern languages day is a winner

6 October 2016 (Greenock Telegraph)

Inverclyde Academy youngsters explored other cultures as part of a day celebrating modern languages.

Third year pupils also served up coffee and cakes to their guests, who included language ambassadors from Strathclyde University and Mandarin speakers.

Principal teacher Sarah Bell invited along experts in British Sign Language, as she widened out the European day of languages.

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Language Ambassadors Programme

6 October 2016 (University of Strathclyde)

Now in its 5th year, the Language Ambassadors Programme is offering visits to Secondary or Primary schools (and other formats too). As Language Ambassadors we will talk about our varied experiences as language learners and do our best to encourage your pupils to follow in our footsteps…

Motivation, experiences abroad, transition to First year at university, job prospects, university courses… This is what we can tell them about.

Boost your young learners’ motivation, invite us in!

For more information see the Language Ambassadors website and to organise a visit, simply contact: Cédric Moreau, c.moreau@strath.ac.uk.

Language Ambassadors at Strathclyde photo

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Celebrate National Poetry Day!

6 October 2016 (SCILT)

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme this year is 'Messages'. To mark the occasion we've created our own triolet poem in French on this theme.

You can see the poem on the National Poetry Day webpage of our MTOT website. We hope it will provide some inspiration for those taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition in Scotland! There are lots of other poetry resources on our website too. So take a look and get creative!

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How mentoring can improve modern languages uptake in schools

6 October 2016 (The Conversation)

For some time, there have been many stories told of the “crisis” in modern languages in secondary schools and universities. There is hard evidence to support this. Even though there have been upsurges in modern languages provision – following the introduction of the English Baccalaureate for example – pupil numbers continue to fall.

In Wales, where modern languages are still an optional choice at GCSE, research shows that the number of pupils studying a foreign language declined by 44% between 2002 and 2015. The number of pupils taking French in 2015 was less than half those who took it in 2002.

But why are pupils put off taking a language at GCSE level, and how can we improve attitudes to the subjects? As a bilingual country, it seems counter-intuitive that Welsh pupils cannot see the benefits of studying languages. However, research from an engagement project we have recently been running suggests a range of things are influencing pupils’ decisions not to study a language.

The mentoring project saw undergraduate modern language students from four Welsh universities trained to work with year eight and nine pupils (aged 13 and 14) in 28 schools. The students helped the pupils to practice their language, build confidence and knowledge, and teach them how modern languages can aid personal and professional development.

Our work was part of a push by the Welsh government, to arrest and reverse the decline in modern languages study by 2020.

Read more...

Infants pay more attention to native language cues: study

6 October 2016 (Free Press Journal)

Nearly from the moment of birth, human beings possess the capacity to distinguish between speakers of their native language and other language, reports IANS. Thus, they pay more attention to native language cues in deciding where to place their focus as well as adopt to the native speakers’ cultural behaviour, a study has found.

“The study reveals the great importance of cultural and linguistic similarity in how infants choose to direct their attention,” said Hanna Marno from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

The findings show how infants and young children are tuned to quickly acquire the knowledge of their society and adapt to their cultural environment, Marno added. In the study, the researchers determined to know whether young babies would selectively pay attention to different speakers in their environment, even when they do not understand the meaning of the words.

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Theatre workshops in French

4 October 2016 (Institut français)

Drama games, improvisation, play readings... Edinburgh-based company Théâtre Sans Accents encourages you to go beyond language boundaries and explore a theatrical language made from a plurality of accents. Keep yours, and discover French in another way!

The workshops are suitable for intermediate/advanced level. The first takes place on Wednesday 12 October with further workshops scheduled in November and December.

Visit the Institut français website for more information.

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I fell in love with a Frenchman – but didn’t speak the language

2 October 2016 (The Guardian)

Author Lauren Collins explains how she and her French husband translated their feelings without resorting to Franglais.

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Euroscola 2017

30 September 2016 (European Parliament)

Euroscola brings together about 600 students from all over the European Union for a day in Strasbourg discussing aspects of European integration, in multilingual working groups of 100 students. It is open to students aged 16-18 and the European Parliament offers a subsidy towards the costs of the journey to Strasbourg.

As working groups consist of students from several member states it is essential that participants have a sound knowledge of at least one other European Union language. For practical purposes knowledge of French is necessary as during the "committee" meetings in the afternoon, students are expected to think and speak in a language other than their mother tongue. The debates are held mainly in French and English.

Applications are now open for dates between January and May 2017.

To find out more and to apply, visit the Euroscola website.

Read more...

SQA news

29 September 2016 (SQA)

The following news items from the SQA may be of interest to language teachers:

Removal of Higher exemplar question papers

Exemplar question papers (EQPs) were created as a revision resource for learners during implementation of the new Higher and Advanced Higher National Qualifications. As we now have two years' worth of past papers for new Higher as well as a specimen question paper for each subject with an exam, the EQPs will be removed from SQA's open website in the week commencing 24 October 2016. Associated guidance documents and guidance on the use of past papers documents will also be removed at this time.

The Advanced Higher EQPs and associated guidance will remain for session 2016-17 and will be removed from the website in July 2017.

Marker opportunities 2017

Are you an enthusiastic and committed teaching professional looking for a new challenge? Do you want to gain valuable insight that will benefit your students? SQA markers are at the heart of our examination operations, gaining valuable insight into assessment and quality assurance processes.

We are currently recruiting markers across all subjects and levels for the 2017 examinations.

Please note that applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience at the level they wish to mark.  Find out more about becoming an SQA marker.

Scotland strengthens links with China: top Scottish legislator

29 September 2016 (Xinhua)

The links between Scotland and the Chinese side are going from strength to strength in parliamentary, economic, cultural, and educational sectors, said a top Scottish legislator Wednesday evening.

Addressing the reception to celebrate the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at the Chinese Consulate-General in Edinburgh, Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh reviewed the exchange of visits of top-level officials from both sides, the Chinese language mania in Scotland, the Chinese students studying in Scotland, as well as people-to-people exchanges.

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Kenneth Baker: ‘We need design, art, music and drama in the heart of a new baccalaureate. The current EBacc doesn’t work’

28 September 2016 (TES)

21st-century pupils need a core of academic subjects supplemented by technical and creative skills, argues the former Conservative education secretary.

The current English Baccalaureate (EBacc) will not fulfil the Prime Minister’s vision for social mobility and will not equip our children with the skills they need in the 21st-century economy. There is a correlation between affluence and academic success. I wish it were not so but wishful thinking will not solve the problems of deprivation and nor will the EBacc.

The current EBacc includes a narrow set of academic GCSEs – two English, maths, two sciences (with computer science not included), a modern foreign language and a humanity (either history or geography). Seven subjects, with many schools doing a third science bringing the total to eight. On average, students are entered for 8.1 GCSEs leaving very limited space for anything other than this narrow academic diet. Ironically, students with low attainment – the very group likely to be disengaged by a purely academic curriculum – are typically entered for 6.9 exams, so the narrow EBacc would become their entire focus. What works for children in the most privileged schools will not work for everyone.

[..] Today I am publishing a proposal for a new Baccalaureate, which consists of English, maths, two sciences (one of which could be computer science), a humanity (history or geography or a foreign language), a technical subject, such as design and technology or a BTEC, and a creative option such as a GCSE in art, design, music, dance or drama.

So a foreign language would no longer be a compulsory GCSE subject, enabling those who want to study a language to continue, but not forcing hundreds of thousands of others to do so.

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Magical Christmas Trips - deadline reminder: Monday 3 October 2016

28 September 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Give your primary pupils the chance to experience Germany's Christmas culture in a real-life setting! This four-day visit to Berlin will give them the chance to meet German children of the same age and get involved in seasonal intercultural activities.

Two options now available: apply for a visit run by UK-German Connection or receive funding to organise your own!

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UK-German Connection flexible funding scheme

27 September 2016 (UK-German Connection)

This special flexible funding scheme is designed to bring young people of the UK and Germany together to facilitate an exchange of ideas, joint learning and open discussions on special topics and current issues.

Funding is available for schools and youth groups in the UK and Germany for grants of between £500 and £5000. Activities must be joint and bilateral (UK-German) with a high level of interaction between the young people.

Current themes available under the flexible funding scheme:

  • World War 1
  • Our future in Europe - maintaining the UK-German connection
Visit the UK-German connection website for further information about the scheme and guidelines for applying.

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Dundonians should be proud of their ‘rich and beautiful’ dialect, says Scots language expert

27 September 2016 (The Courier)

Eighteen months after schools were urged to increase the use of the Scots language as part of a wider drive to improve literacy, a BBC Radio documentary, compiled by Newport-based broadcaster and Scots language expert Billy Kay, is highlighting the efforts to promote the use of Scots in Dundee. Michael Alexander reports.

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UK voted worst country in Europe at learning other languages as world video dictionary launched

26 September 2016 (The Independent)

The UK is the worst country in Europe at learning other languages new data suggests.

As part of a vote organised for European Day of Languages, Britain was revealed to be the most monolingual country in the continent.

More than one in three (35%) chose Britain as the worst in Europe for communicating in any other language apart from their mother tongue. French citizens came second in the vote with 22 per cent, followed by Italy with eight per cent.

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Antonella Sorace: Why language learning matters (now more than ever)

26 September 2016 (University of Edinburgh blog)

There is no better way to celebrate the European Day of Languages than reminding people how good it is to have more than one language in the brain. Multilingualism is a very good investment both for individuals and for societies, but this is not obvious in Scotland and the UK more generally, because of the ‘privileged monolingualism’ of English native speakers. The common perception that “everyone speaks English” makes foreign languages seem irrelevant and leads to lack of incentives to learn languages. Language skills in the UK are falling just as the need for them is growing. According to one estimate, lack of language skills costs the UK economy £48 billion a year.

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Modern languages 'at a crossroads' - new project launched today

26 September 2016 (Oxford University Arts Blog)

Today is international languages day. But in the UK, modern languages is “at a crossroads”, according to an Oxford University professor. Katrin Kohl, professor of German Literature, says the perception of languages in schools and society is suffering.

Today, she and her fellow researchers have launched a major four-year research programme to investigate the interconnection between linguistic diversity and creativity. The project, called Creative Multilingualism, will explore how being able to speak more than one language can make us more creative. There is much more information about the planned research on the project’s website.

Professor Kohl tells Arts Blog a bit more about the project.

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More funding for Gaelic learning

23 September 2016 (Scottish Government)

More than 10,000 young people will benefit from additional funding for Gaelic music, drama and language teaching.

The Scottish Government will provide £33,000 to Fèisean nan Gàidheal in 2016-17 to support Gaelic learning.

The new funding will go towards the production of a new Gaelic music, drama and dance show involving children from two Gaelic primary schools – one in the Highlands and one in the central belt.

It will also allow the organisation to offer their Fèisgoil Gaelic language lessons to local authorities that have not experienced them yet.

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Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival - Screenings for schools

22 September 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with Consejería de Educación, will launch the third Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) from 6-20 October 2016 and would like to invite schools to bring their senior phase students along to one of the screenings at the Filmhouse Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness or Glasgow.

See the attached letter of invitation for details of the programme and booking information.

For more information about the Festival, visit the ESFF website.

Read more...

Related Files

Latin should be taught in every state primary school, says leading academic

22 September 2016 (The Independent)

Latin and Classics should be taught in every primary school and not limited to the middle and upper classes, a leading academic has said.

Professor Dennis Hayes, an expert from the University of Derby and Chair of the College of Education Research Committee, has warned that Latin and ancient Greek along with modern languages are in danger of becoming “the preserve of public schools”.

Read more...

Promoting Excellence in Sign Language Instruction

21 September 2016 (ECML)

The ProSign 2 project Promoting Excellence in Sign Language Instruction aims to raise the profile of sign language (SL) teachers in Europe and to support them in their efforts to achieve excellence in their teaching, both content-wise and didactically.

PRO-Sign 2's goal is to disseminate high quality materials aligned to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and to facilitate the exchange and strengthening of expertise amongst Europe's sign language teachers to support them in their work and to raise the quality of sign language teaching and learning.

Find out more on the ECML website.

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UK-German FLA/ELA Ambassadors

21 September 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Applications for the UK-German Connection's FLA/ELA Ambassador network 2016-17 are now open.

The FLA/ELA Ambassadors are a network of language assistants who are working in schools in the UK and Germany. They run small projects, activities, events or clubs in order to inspire and motivate young people in their schools for the language and culture of the other country.

FLA/ELA Ambassadors run at least one project within their school or in conjunction with other schools in the area. The project is bilateral, run either with a partner Ambassador from the other country, or with an existing partner school. The aims are to enable young people to have direct, meaningful contact with young people in the other country and to make lessons come to life through active involvement in a UK-German partnership.

To find out more about the scheme and previous Ambassador projects which have taken place, visit the UK-German Connection website and apply by 14 October 2016.

Read more...

Scotland-Russia Forum news

21 September 2016 (SRF)

The latest news bulletin from the SRF is now available to view online. If you want to learn Russian there may still be a few spaces left on this term's courses. Check out the bulletin for details.

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Beginners French 1 course for primary teachers

21 September 2016 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française de Glasgow is running a new 10-week Beginners 1 French course specifically designed for primary school teachers between October and December 2016.

The course is suitable for complete beginners and will take place on Wednesdays 3.45-5.45pm between 5 October and 14 December 2016.

For more information and to enrol, visit the Alliance Française website.

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Students undervalue study and work abroad, report argues

21 September 2016 (The Pie News)

Many students who have access to international experiences during higher education don’t realise their value until after they have graduated, according to a recent survey. Study abroad, overseas internships, language courses and intercultural exchanges are all overlooked by students during their studies, it found.

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Language Immersion Days for Higher and Advanced Higher

20 September 2016 (UWS)

The Languages for All team at University of the West of Scotland (UWS) are offering language immersion classes in French, German, Mandarin or Spanish to support Higher and Advanced Higher students.

The half-day classes are designed to suit the academic needs of students who wish to enhance essential skills in language such as reading, writing, speaking and listening. These classes will prepare students for their SQA final exams.

The classes can either be held in one of the UWS campuses - Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton or Paisley. Alternatively UWS lecturers can travel to your local authority facilities.

To find out more and how to arrange a session, visit the UWS website.

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Scottish Gaelic Awards 2016

19 September 2016 (Daily Record / Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

As part of the Daily Record's drive to celebrate all aspects of Scottish culture, and following the success of the 2015 Gaelic Awards, we are proud to launch the 2016 campaign with headline sponsors Bòrd na Gàidhlig. 

The Scottish Gaelic Awards reward all aspects of our Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

If you know someone who deserves an award for their contribution to Gaelic, submit your nomination by Friday 25 September. A list of award categories can be found on the Scottish Gaelic Awards website.

The Awards will be presented at a high-quality dinner in Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow on Wednesday 16 November 2016.

Read more...

Erasmus+ information sessions: Autumn 2016 series

19 September 2016 (Erasmus+)

Erasmus+ will be holding a series of free half-day information sessions in 6 venues across the UK.

The sessions are for any organisation in the UK working in the sectors of education, training, youth or sport. These events will provide an overview of the funding opportunities available under Erasmus+ in 2017, and are primarily intended for newcomers to the programme.

There will be a session in Glasgow on Wednesday 2 November 2016.

For information on all the locations and to register your place, visit the Erasmus+ website.

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Chryston HS part of the Smart Choice: German Network

19 September 2016 (Chryston High School)

Chryston High School has now been named as the first Scottish school on the Goethe Institut’s Smart Choice: German network.

The network recognises the school’s commitment to German as a foreign language and the support that the school offers to our feeder primary schools.

Part of the project involves setting up a digital network which will allow us to strengthen our partnership with our feeder primary schools while promoting the benefits of learning German.

Read more...

Related Links

The Smart Choice: German - Schools' Network - Goethe-Institut website containing information about the network and how schools can get involved.

New German courses from 27 September 2016

19 September 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Due to demand the Goethe-Institut in Glasgow has opened another beginners course on Tuesday evenings. There are also some places left on their other courses.

For full details visit the Goethe-Institut website and if you'd like to join, please make sure that you enrol this week.

Read more...

We must be proud of the rise of Gaelic education

16 September 2016 (TESS)

Three decades ago, 24 children enrolled in experimental Gaelic schooling. Now thousands of children are learning the language and exploring the culture.

This has been a milestone year for Gaelic learning. The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced Gaelic-medium education (GME) provisions, assuring a national entitlement at primary-school level. New GME schools opened in Glasgow and Fort William, with building works underway in Portree, adding to three existing Gaelic schools across Scotland, and complementing departments in primary and secondary schools. And, recently, Scotland’s first director of Gaelic education, Mona Wilson, was appointed.

Read the full article in TESS online, 16 September 2016, pages 20-21 (subscription required).

Read more...

Languages 'Beyond School'

16 September 2016 (SCILT)

As the UCAS application process gets underway, make sure any pupils thinking of continuing their language studies checks out the Beyond School section of our website.

This section contains useful information to help senior pupils decide on the different language courses and options available once they have left school, at college, university or as part of a gap year. There are links to courses available in Scotland and across the UK.

Pupils, parents, guidance and careers staff should all find this section of our website useful.

Read more...

New student profiles on the SCILT website

16 September 2016 (SCILT)

New additions to our job profile section this term come from students currently undertaking courses which also allow them to develop their language skills.

Our two latest profiles come from students in the Tourism sector:

  • Amy-Jo Fairbairn, who is studying for a HND in Travel and Tourism at the City of Glasgow college.
  • Gail Leslie who, after completing her HND course in Travel and Tourism, is now embarking on a degree in Business Studies at UWS..
Whilst choosing different languages to learn, both can see the value of language skills for their future careers and personal lives.

Read their profiles and others on our website.

Read more...

'It helped me grow up': students on why the Erasmus scheme must stay

14 September 2016 (The Guardian)

There are fears over the future of the Erasmus, a £112m EU exchange programme that allows students to spend time elsewhere in Europe as part of their degree. It’s believed that Brexit could put the scheme under threat and David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the EU, is being urged to protect it.

Here, six people talk about their experiences of the programme.

Read more...

Magical Christmas Trips to Germany 2016

12 September 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Give your primary pupils the chance to experience Germany's Christmas culture in a real-life setting! This four-day visit will give them the chance to meet German children of the same age and get involved in seasonal intercultural activities.

As part of this programme, a group of primary pupils from the UK travel to Germany with their teachers, as well as 'mentors' from a nearby secondary school to meet their German peers, learn some